North Korea claimed Thursday it fired two long-range cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to state media.
Dictator Kim Jong Un oversaw the test launches, conducted with a goal of “enhancing the combat efficiency and might” of cruise missiles employed “for the operation of tactical nukes,” on Oct. 12, Reuters reported, citing state media outlet Korea Central News Agency (KCNA). The incident comes as the communist regime is widely expected to conduct a nuclear weapons test in the coming days or weeks, Reuters reported.
“The test-fire is our another clear warning to the enemies and the practical verification and clear demonstration of the absolute reliability and combat capacity of our state’s war deterrent,” Kim said, according to KCNA. (RELATED: Pelosi Pledges To Denuclearize North Korea Before Visit To Demilitarized Zone)
North Korea “should continue to expand the operational sphere of the nuclear strategic armed forces to resolutely deter any crucial military crisis and war crisis at any time and completely take the initiative in it,” Kim added.
Although Seoul generally warns citizens when North Korea fires missiles, the military opted to keep knowledge of the launch under wraps “based on considerations over exposing our government’s surveillance capabilities,” a spokesperson for South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said, according to NK News.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol later said the missiles are “slow enough to be intercepted” and do not pose an immediate threat, Reuters reported.
Pyongyang first tested a strategic cruise missile in September 2021, possibly the country’s first rocket capable of carrying a nuclear weapon, according to Reuters.
South Korean intelligence suggested in September that Pyongyang may explode a nuclear weapon between the Chinese Communist Party Congress on Oct. 16 and the midterm elections in the U.S. on Nov. 8, Reuters reported.
Recent satellite images of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility show new construction near Tunnel No. 4. This could be part of an expansion of North Korea’s nuclear testing capabilities, writes @BeyondCSISKorea. Copyright © Airbus DS 2022.
Learn more: https://t.co/uqX8lyZ251 pic.twitter.com/MsrfqMvu3p
— CSIS (@CSIS) October 5, 2022
Pyongyang has conducted a record number of ballistic missile launches since the Biden administration took office, with the latest volley crossing Japanese airspace and landing in waters near the two democratic countries of Japan and South Korea.
North Korea on Monday said the spate of ballistic missile tests — seven since Sept. 25 — were intended to simulate actual firing of tactical warheads at South Korean targets and conducted in a show of strength and readiness as the U.S., Japan and South Korea conducted military drills nearby, CNN reported.
The Department of State did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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