North Korea on Thursday said it had simulated a “scorched earth” nuclear attack and rehearsed a military occupation of South Korea.
On Wednesday night Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles as part of its tests. The launches were apparently meant to target command centers, key airfields and other military targets in South Korea.
The missiles traveled about 250 miles east into the Sea of Japan, according to assessments by South Korea and Japan.
North Korea has previously tested such missiles, which are nuclear-capable. However, Pyongyang’s disclosing detailed war plans is being viewed as a reassertion of its aggressive nuclear doctrine to intimidate its adversaries.
During a visit to a military command post on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spoke of the need to “deal a heavy blow at the enemy’s war potential and war command center and blinding their means of command communication at the initial stage of operation.”
The simulation comes as the U.S. on Wednesday deployed B-1B bombers for joint drills with South Korea and Japan, in a stepped-up response to North Korea’s aggression in the region.
North Korea is quite wary of B-1B bombers, which can carry a massive number of conventional weapons. Pyongyang has described the bombers as “nuclear strategic” even though the planes were switched to conventional weaponry in the 1990s.
In the wake of Pyongyang’s latest missile launches, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command reiterated that America’s commitment to the defense of South Korea and Japan remains “ironclad.”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff called its neighbor’s actions “a grave provocation” that violates U.N. Security Council resolutions banning any ballistic launches by North Korea.
The nuclear simulation by Pyongyang comes less than two weeks after President Biden held a summit at Camp David with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, during which the three leaders pledged to adhere to a list of principles, including a “commitment to the complete denuclearization” of North Korea.