N. Korea threatens to take ‘overwhelming’ military steps against S. Korea, U.S.

November 7, 2022

North Korea’s military said Monday it will take “sustained, resolute and overwhelming” practical military measures in response to joint military drills of South Korea and the United States amid speculation that Pyongyang may carry out another nuclear test just before or after the U.S. midterm elections this week.

In a “report” carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) also said it conducted a four-day “military operations” last week against the allies’ Vigilant Storm exercise, claiming to have fired two strategic missiles just 80 kilometers off the southeastern coast of Ulsan.

“The recent corresponding military operations by the KPA are a clear answer of the DPRK that the more persistently the enemies’ provocative military moves continue, the more thoroughly and mercilessly the KPA will counter them,” the KPA said in the English-language statement. The DPRK is the acronym for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The KPA slammed the recent Vigilant Storm exercise as an “open provocation aimed at intentionally escalating the tension in the region.”

“The KPA General Staff once again clarifies that it will continue to correspond with all the anti-DPRK war drills of the enemy with the sustained, resolute and overwhelming practical military measures,” it added.

On Monday, South Korea kicked off its annual computer-simulated Taegeuk training to enhance operational capabilities against North Korean threats.

In an unusual move, the KPA gave a detailed account of a set of military operations conducted from Nov. 2 to 5. On Wednesday morning, it said missile units in North Pyongan Province fired “four tactical ballistic missiles loaded with dispersion warheads and underground infiltration warheads at a desert island off the West Sea Barrage.”

The North’s air force on the east and west coastal areas also fired “23 ground-to-air missiles while staging an exercise to annihilate air targets at different altitudes and distances,” it added.

The North then fired two strategic cruise missiles with the shooting range of 590.5 km at the open sea around 80 km off the coast of Ulsan in South Korea from North Hamgyong Province in response to Seoul’s firing of air-to-surface guided missiles and gliding guided bombs, according to the report.

The military response came after Pyongyang fired about two dozen missiles, including a short-range ballistic missile that landed near South Korea’s territorial waters for the first time since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The KPA claimed it conducted on Thursday “important test-fire of ballistic missile to verify the movement reliability of a special functional warhead paralyzing the operation command system of the enemy.”

The North appears to be referring to its latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, which the South’s military presumed to have ended in failure.

The report said Pyongyang also fired five super-large multiple launch missiles, and tactical ballistic missiles of various missions and 46 long-range multiple launch missiles into the East Sea.

On Friday, it staged a “large-scale all-out combat sortie operation” of the air force for 3 hours and 47 minutes involving around 500 fighters, and fired two tactical ballistic missiles as well as two super-large multiple launch missiles the following day, according to the report.

Seoul and Washington staged a large-scale combined air exercise from Monday through Saturday involving hundreds of military aircraft, including stealth fighter jets and two B-1B supersonic bombers.

In protest, the North fired more than 30 missiles into the East Sea and the Yellow Sea last week alone.

The intelligence communities of South Korea and the U.S. say the secretive Kim Jong-un regime has completed preparations for a seventh nuclear test.

They say it may choose an exact timing in consideration of the U.S. midterm elections, slated to be held Tuesday (local time), in a bid to maximize the effects of the experiment.