Referring to missiles test fired, two Scud missiles and one intermediate-range ballistic missile Rodong on July 19, North Korea on July 20 stated that it conducted missile test that simulated a preemptive strike against South Korea and its airfields used by the US for military purposes.
North Korea is prohibited from developing ballistic missile technology by UN resolutions and test-firing of three missiles was in gross violation of these resolutions. The test firing was seen as an angry reaction to the deployment of US missile defence system in South Korea under which about 30,000 US troops are permanently posted in South Korea.
It may be noted after conducting its fourth nuclear test in January and launching a long-range rocket the following month, North Korea came under the UN Security Council resolution in March.
Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s official news agency reported that the exercise, which successfully tested the simulated detonation of nuclear warheads mounted on the missiles was supervised by Kim Jong Un himself. Although, the date of the exercise was not mentioned as the locations and dates of its leader’s activities are customarily not reported by their media.
“The drill was conducted by limiting the firing range under the simulated conditions of making preemptive strikes at ports and airfields in the operational theater in South Korea where the US imperialists nuclear war hardware is to be hurled,” stated KCNA.
“And it once again 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, in a series of provocative moves, North Korea fired three ballistic missiles that flew between 500 km and 600 km (300-360 miles) into the sea off its east coast.
A week after the US and South Korea decided on a site in the southern country to deploy the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) anti-missile system to counter threats from the isolated country, the missile launches are now seen as a show of force than a test to improve missile capabilities.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the test were “deeply troubling” and undermined efforts to reduce tension on the Korean peninsula.
The missile testing exercise drew criticism from South Korea, the European Union, Japan and the US.