N. Korea: Tests prepared for strikes on US targets

North Korea says latest ballistic missile tests trialled detonation devices for possible nuclear strikes on American targets in South Korea.

Ben Ariel,

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
Reuters

North Korea says its latest ballistic missile tests trialled detonation devices for possible nuclear strikes on American targets in South Korea and were personally monitored by supreme leader Kim Jong-Un, AFP reported Tuesday night.

Tuesday's test firing of three missiles in violation of existing UN resolutions was seen as an angry reaction to the planned deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in the South.

Before the firing, Pyongyang issued threats to respond to the planned deployment of the America anti-missile system.

Tuesday's launch of the two Scud missiles and one intermediate-range Rodong was condemned by the United States, Japan and South Korea, who vowed a collective diplomatic response.

The tests were ordered and monitored by Kim Jong-Un and the range of the missiles was limited to simulate pre-emptive attacks on South Korean ports and airfields hosting US military "hardware", the North's official KCNA news agency said, according to AFP.

The tests "examined the operational features of the detonating devices of nuclear warheads mounted on the ballistic rockets at the designated altitude over the target area," it said.

According to the South Korean military, the two Scuds flew between 500 and 600 kilometers (310-370 miles) into the Sea of Japan, while the Rodong was fired about an hour later.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said earlier Tuesday the tests were "deeply troubling" and undermined efforts to reduce tension on the Korean peninsula.

Tensions in the regions have soared since Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test in January, claiming it was a hydrogen bomb.

In addition, it has repeatedly warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes against the South and U.S. targets there and elsewhere, although the main focus of its nuclear weapons program is to develop a credible strike threat against the American mainland.

North Korea-U.S. tensions have also stoked by Pyongyang's fury at Washington's decision to personally target leader Kim with sanctions related to human rights abuses.

Kim responded by threatening a tough response to what he called the United States' “declaration of war” against Pyongyang.




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