North Korea has conducted a fire assault drill and fired several short-range ballistic missiles off its western coast amid large-scale military maneuvers by the United States and South Korea. According to the KCNA news agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the military to step up drills for a “real war” and stressed the need to be prepared to “deter war” and “take the initiative in war.”
The ballistic missile launch has been interpreted as a demonstration of North Korea’s ability to counter a war. Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, has stated that any move to shoot down one of its test missiles would be considered a declaration of war and has blamed joint US-South Korean military exercises for rising tensions.
The US Indo-Pacific Command has said the latest launch poses no threat to the United States or its allies but that Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs have a destabilizing effect on the region.
The situation on the Korean peninsula remains tense due to North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The United States and South Korea have maintained their joint military exercises, which have been criticized by North Korea, which considers them a threat to its security. Tensions have risen in recent weeks, and the latest drill and ballistic missile launches have only served to increase concern in the region.
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