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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Milica Cosic

North Korea's recent tests were 'tactical nuclear drills' overseen by Kim Jong-un

North Korea 's recent missile tests shockingly involved "tactical nuclear" drills to simulate them hitting the South, and were overseen by leader Kim Jong-un, state media said today.

This, the state media went on to say, was in response to US-led joint military exercises in the region, which has angered the city of Pyongyang.

Kim - who made acquiring tactical nukes a top priority at a party congress in January 2021 - this year vowed to develop North Korea's nuclear forces, and at the fastest possible speed.

The nukes, which are smaller and lighter weapons designed for battlefield use, could have serious consequences if used. Because of this, the country revised its nuclear laws last month, and outlined an array of scenarios in which it could use its nukes.

The North Korean leader was also present on the October 10 tests, as he monitored the missile launch at an undisclosed location (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

Following this, Seoul, Tokyo and Washington ramped up their combined military exercises.


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This included deploying a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier to the area twice - which infuriated Pyongyang as it sees such drills as rehearsals for invasion.

Therefore in response to this, State news agency, Korean Central News Agency reported the country "decided to organise military drills under the simulation of an actual war" that aimed at hitting South Korea's ports, airports and military command facilities.

Kim Jong Un posing with the North Korean People's Army front-line long-range artillery division on October 6 (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

The report added that Kim "guided the military drills on the spot" as his army units were involved in "the operation of tactical nukes staged military drills from September 25 to October 9, in order to check and assess the war deterrent and nuclear counterattack capability".

This exercise took place while he dismissed the idea of restarting talks, saying North Korea "felt no necessity to do so", the report states.

North Korea also went on to release multiple photographs of the recent missile launches, tests and exercises. They showed Kim Jong-un at the forefront, dressed in a white suit and wide-brimmed cream cap, and overseeing the nukes while cheerfully giving orders and smiling with his soldiers.

Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, wrote on Twitter : "What I find notable is that these launches are not framed as tests of the missiles themselves, but rather of the units that launch them.

"That suggests these systems are deployed."

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 10, 2022 shows a Hokkaido missile launch training test by the Korean People's Army Tactical Nuclear Operation Unit at an undisclosed location (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

In addition to the multiple "tactical nuclear" drills, North Korea announced it had carried out "a large-scale combined air-attack drill" over Japan on October 4 - which they say was also overseen by Kim.

That test — for which state media images showed Kim observing the missile flight data - was aimed to "send more powerful and clear warning to the enemies."

KCNA said this involved "more than 150 fighter planes", with Seoul saying last week it has only detected 12 North Korean warplanes flying in formation.

Kim Jong Un was also present during a large-scale artillery drill by the Korean People's Army long-range artillery division on October 8 (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

Meanwhile, officials in Washington and South Korea have been warning for months that the North has completed preparations for another rest, and may soon start trialing it -which would be the country's seventh, and first since 2017.

Experts believe it could also use the opportunity to detonate a smaller tactical device for the first time - the kind which would fit into the missiles it has been recently testing out.

A professor at Kyungnam University, Lim Eul-chul told AFP: "The fears of a nuclear war in Ukraine are no longer someone else's concern.

"We need to take more seriously the fact that the possibility of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula has increased."

North Korea's recent missile tests were 'tactical nuclear' drills personally overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, state media said on Monday (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

North Korea's recent launches

  • Sunday 25 September - Short-range missile fired the day after a US naval carrier arrived in waters around the Korean peninsula; at a 600km distance & 60km altitude
  • Wednesday 28 September - Two short-range missiles fired on the eve of US Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Seoul and the DMZ; at a 360km distance & 30km altitude
  • Thursday 29 September - Two short-range missiles after Harris departed South Korea; at 300km distance & 50km altitude
  • Saturday 1 October - Two short-range missiles fired amid continuing US-South Korea-Japan drills; at 400km distance & 50km altitude
  • Tuesday 4 October - Over Japan, an intermediate-range ballistic missile was fired; at 4,500km distance & 2,800km altitude
  • Thursday 6 October - Two short-range missiles fired at the distance of 800km & 50km altitude
  • Sunday 9 October - Two more short-range missiles; distance and altitude currently unknown

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