North Korea warns against upcoming large-scale joint military drill between South Korea and the U.S.

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Kim Jong-un

18th March 2023 – (Pyongyang) According to a report from the state media on Friday, the strategic forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) carried out an intercontinental ballistic missile launch drill as a warning gesture against the ongoing U.S.-South Korea war drills.

On Thursday, a Hwasongpho-17 was launched from the Pyongyang International Airport and reached a maximum altitude of 6,045 km, flying a distance of around 1,000 km before accurately landing on a pre-set area in the open waters off the eastern coast. The DPRK’s top leader, Kim Jong Un, presided over the event and applauded the operating systems of the country’s nuclear strategic forces, as reported by the DPRK’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

During the event, Kim reiterated the DPRK’s “resolute will to respond with a nuke for nuke and an all-out confrontation for an all-out confrontation,” while asking the strategic forces to maintain rapid response capability in the event of any armed conflict and war.

In tandem with the missile launch, the country’s main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, published a commentary on Friday, stating that the Hwasongpho-17 served as clear evidence that “the DPRK nuclear forces are not for advertisement.” The article cited the DPRK law on the policy of nuclear-armed forces and emphasized that the country would make a resolute response to anyone trying to encroach upon its sovereignty and security.

The commentary further mentioned that the United States should stop the “reckless military provocations and war drills against the DPRK.” This follows the start of the Freedom Shield exercises, an annual large-scale joint military drill between South Korea and the United States, which commenced on Monday and is set to run until 23rd March.