North Korea will continue to conduct ballistic missile launch exercises in response to ongoing U.S. – South Korean joint military drills, Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), reported on Friday.
The article defended the legitimacy of early March’s ballistic rocket-launch drill, arguing that no one has the “right to denounce” the drill as it is “normal training” responding to the “nuclear war moves of the enemies including the U.S.”
“Our Strategic Force staged a ballistic rocket-launching drill in our own territory to crush the U.S. escalating nuclear threat and blackmail,” Rodong Sinmun said.
“In response to the U.S. and the South Korean puppet constantly conducting the joint military drills, labeling it as annual exercises, our Strategic Force has been regularizing the ballistic rocket-launching drill.”
The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the U.S. are currently conducting the annual Foal Eagle exercise, a field training exercise (FTX) which aims to develop capabilities for ROK-U.S. combined operations and which began on March 1 and will continue until April 30. North Korea sees the exercise as a rehearsal for an invasion.
Key Resolve, a computer-simulated command post exercise (CPE), finished on Thursday after beginning on March 13.
The North also argued that United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions to impose sanctions had been “manipulated by hostile forces” and are “illegal.”
“There is no country in the world where an army, which is responsible for national defense, stages military drills caring about the approval of the United Nations and the provisions of international conventions,” according to Rodong Sinmun.
The DPRK also reinstated their national power is strengthening “day by day”, arguing the KPA won’t listen to “nonsensical talk”.
“Especially our capabilities of nuclear attack – which is achieving a breakthrough – has been powerfully shown off. We are prepared to deal with any kind of the war which the U.S. wants,” the ruling party organ said. “The stronger our deterrence, the stronger our power to stop nuclear war.”
A South Korean expert in the field of military and security said the use of the term “regularizing” has “great significance.”
“This regularization underscores that the North will conduct the ballistic missile launch exercises in a normal way and on a regular basis like Foal Eagle,” Kim Dong-yub, assistant professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University, told NK News.
“There is another hidden meaning. The North can claim that the South and the U.S should halt their joint military exercises if they want the North to stop launching missiles, by labeling them as regular training.”
Kim also said the growing number of North Korean’s missile test-firings is a sign of the rapid development of its missile capabilities and technology.
The North test-launched 24 ballistic missiles in 2016, according to South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on Friday that a sixth nuclear test by the North could happen “at any time”.
“Our assessment is that the North is under a situation where they can conduct a nuclear test within a few hours if the North’s top leadership give a command,” an unnamed official at MND was quoted as having said by multiple outlets. “We are surveilling the nuclear facilities through the combined assets of the South and the U.S.”
Featured Image: Rodong Sinmun
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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