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North Korea claims to have deployed ‘tactical nuclear’ cruise missiles

korea korea tensions
A television screen showing images of a North Korean missile launch during a news program at Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea, October 13, 2022.

Ahn Young Joon / AP

State media said Thursday that Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of two long-range cruise missiles, adding that the weapons had already been deployed to the North Korean military’s “tactical nuclear” unit.

Directed by Kim Blitzkrieg of ballistic missile launches in recent weeksNorth Korea describes this as a tactical nuclear exercise that simulates destroying airports and military installations across South Korea.

Wednesday’s test of the two cruise missiles was aimed at “increasing the combat efficiency” of the weapon and was “deployed to units of the Korean People’s Army for tactical nuclear weapon operations,” KCNA reported.

Cruise missiles are difficult to detect and intercept because they fly at lower altitudes than ballistic missiles, but they flew 1,240 miles over the sea before hitting their targets, KCNA said.

Kim Jong-un expressed “great satisfaction” with the nuclear test, saying it showed the country’s nuclear force was “perfectly ready for real war” and sent a “clear warning to the enemy”. .

north korea North Korea has tested “strategic” cruise missiles before, but this is the first time it has said they have a nuclear role and are operational. He questioned the claim, saying it had not shown that nuclear warheads could actually be made small enough.

“North Korea’s cruise missiles, air force and tactical nuclear weapons are probably much less capable than propaganda suggests,” said Leif Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“The Kim regime is surprisingly transparent about its weapons development goals, but it also tends to exaggerate its strength and capabilities,” he added.

With negotiations stalled for a long time and Ukraine-related stalemate at the United Nations hindering the possibility of new sanctions, Kim Jong-un has stepped up his efforts to develop and test banned nuclear weapons.

Officials in Seoul and Washington have been warning for months that North Korea is ready to conduct another nuclear test.

Kim Jong-un said that North Korea is “committing to the ever-accelerating development of the state’s nuclear combat force”.

Pyongyang is not technically banned by the United Nations from testing cruise missiles, but all ballistic missile launches violate sanctions and are usually flagged by Seoul or Tokyo.both Wednesday. did not warn the test of

At a major party convention in January 2021, Kim made the acquisition of tactical nuclear weapons — small, lightweight weapons designed for use on the battlefield — a top priority.

“The latest test shows that North Korea is operating a tactical nuclear capability with cruise missiles, which fly at low altitudes,” Hong Min of the Korea Unification Institute told Agence France-Presse. It’s hard to detect,” he said.

“This is a testament to North Korea’s ability to carry a nuclear warhead,” he said, adding that cruise missiles can also have irregular flight paths, making interception more difficult. .

North Korea last month amended its nuclear law to allow for a first strike, with Kim declaring the country an “irreversible” nuclear power.

Since then, Seoul, Tokyo and Washington Strengthen complex military exercisesThis includes deploying a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier to the region twice, angering Pyongyang, which sees such exercises as rehearsals for invasion.

In response, North Korea organized a drill earlier this week that it said hit South Korean ports, airports and military command facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-korea-claims-its-deployed-tactical-nuke-cruise-missiles/ North Korea claims to have deployed ‘tactical nuclear’ cruise missiles

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