December 7, 2022

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North Korea has vowed a ‘firm’ response to the US and South Korea

North Korea announced today that it will respond to US and South Korean joint maneuvers with “steady, firm and extreme” military action, the official KCNA news agency reported.

The warning comes in the wake of a series of missile tests by Pyongyang in recent weeks, including the launch of four ballistic missiles on Saturday, just days after the United States and South Korea completed the largest joint military air drills organized by the United States. States. Two countries.

“We will continue to respond to all maneuvers against the enemy (North Korea) with consistent, decisive and extreme practical military action,” the Korean People’s Army General Staff said in a statement, KCNA reported.

The agency said the North’s recent ballistic missile tests were a “clear response” to military exercises dubbed “Storm Watch” by Washington and Seoul last week.

Pyongyang’s military said the maneuvers “deliberately increase tension in the region and are a dangerous maneuver, of a highly aggressive nature, directed directly against North Korea.”

“The more persistent, the more thorough and merciless are the enemy’s provocations [os militares norte-coreanos] We will fight against them,” the KCNA statement added.

Hundreds of US and South Korean fighter jets, including B-1B bombers, took part in the Watchful Storm exercise last week.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the exercise demonstrated “the ability and readiness to respond decisively to any provocation by North Korea.”

At the same time, Seoul countered North Korean criticism and said the maneuvers did not pose a threat to any country.

However, the drills have provoked strong reactions from Pyongyang, which sees it as a rehearsal for an invasion.

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The North Korean military said the activities included firing tactical ballistic missiles, simulating attacks on air bases and shooting down enemy aircraft.

KCNA reported that the North Korean air force carried out a “large-scale combat operation” with 500 aircraft.

On Monday, the agency released images of North Korean military operations in which missiles were fired from multiple unidentified locations.

Airports

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol described the move as “a de facto territorial invasion”.

According to analysts, the air maneuvers are of particular concern to Pyongyang because its air force is one of the weakest points in its armed forces, lacking advanced aircraft and experienced pilots.

Details of North Korean actions last week reveal the importance the country places on destroying air bases in the South, said Cheong Seong-sang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute in Seoul.

“North Korea considers it important to attack and neutralize air bases first because its own air force is weak,” Cheong told AFP.

North Korea revised its nuclear doctrine in September to allow for a pre-emptive strike in the event of a threat to Kim Jong Un’s regime.

Seoul and Washington believe Pyongyang will soon conduct a nuclear test, the seventh in the regime’s history and the first since 2017.