North Korea confirmed to have released a intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to demonstrate its ability to carry out a “deadly nuclear counterattack”, amid tension over military maneuvers in United States and South Korea. This Sunday, the armies of both countries they responded with aerial maneuvers of B-1 bombers.
According to the North Korean state news agency KCNA, the ICBM (Hwasong-15) was fired on Saturday afternoon from the airport in the capital Pyongyang, after the North Korean leader, kim jong un, order the “launching exercise” in the morning.
The projectile traveled more than 900 kilometers and reached an apogee of more than 5,000 before falling into the waters of Japan’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ), west of the island of Hokkaido. According to the Japanese Government, it flew 66 minutes and would have the capacity to reach any point in the continental United States.
The KCNA news agency said the weapons test, the first in seven weeks, it was carried out to reinforce “the warfare capacity of ICBM units, which are ready for a mobile and powerful counterattack”. The launch is “clear proof” of the reliability of North Korea’s “powerful nuclear deterrent,” the note added.
The shooting was condemned by South Korea, the United States and Japan, as well as the G7 and the European Union (EU).
The launch came as South Korea and the United States prepare to hold an exercise next week in Washington, to learn what steps to take if North Korea uses its nuclear weapons.
North Korea sees these periodic maneuvers as preparations by the United States and South Korea to invade.
The response of South Korea and the United States
The armies of South Korea and the United States responded this Sunday to the launch of Pyongyang with some aerial maneuvers involving two Pentagon B-1 strategic bombers, as reported by the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in a statement.
The statement did not initially specify the exact number of B-1s, although two bombers can be seen in images of the maneuvers sent to the media. In any case, with this action the allies seek to give a resounding reply to Pyongyang, since many times Washington usually deploys only one bomber of this type on the peninsula when it intends to issue a warning to the Kim Jong-un regime.
South Korean F-35 and F-15 and US F-16 fighters participated in today’s maneuvers, according to the JCS. The aircraft, about 10 in total, flew over the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan (respectively called the West Sea and East Sea in the two Koreas) and also southern South Korean territory.
“On this occasion the maneuvers have demonstrated the combined readiness and defense capabilities of the ROK (official name of the South) and the US by displaying the overwhelming strength of the alliance through the timely and immediate deployment of US deterrent assets on the Korean Peninsula,” the text said.
“It also confirmed the US’s unwavering commitment and extended deterrence commitments,” he concluded.
The extended or extended deterrence is a commitment made last May by Washington with Seoul that consists of sending US strategic assets to the Korean peninsula in a “coordinated manner and when necessary” based on the actions of the northern regime.
years of tension
North Korea has technically been at war with South Korea and the United States since the Korean War, between 1950 and 1953, ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty. The United States currently has 28,500 troops in South Korea.
In recent years, the North Korean communist government has developed atomic weapons, something illegal under international law, which it says is needed to deter a US attack.
According to American security expert Ankit Panda, Saturday’s shooting in Pyongyang is of considerable importance because “it was ordered on the same day, so it is not a traditional ‘test’, but rather an exercise”, reported AFP.
Relations between the two Koreas are at one of their lowest points in years, after the North declared itself an “irreversible” nuclear power and Kim called for an “exponential” increase in weapons production, including tactical nuclear weapons. . In response, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has sought to step up security cooperation with the United States, with more joint military exercises.
Since a diplomatic process in 2019, which ended in failure, the dialogue between the two Koreas has been at a standstill.
North Korean spokeswoman and Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, said on Sunday that the South’s actions “aggravate the situation more every moment, destroying regional stability,” according to KCNA. “I advise that we will monitor all the movements of the enemy and take corresponding countermeasures, very powerful and overwhelming, against all these hostile movements against us,” she added.