South Korea, US launch military drills after North tests sub missiles

(Update 1: Adds details, re-ledes)

Seoul, Mar 13 (EFE).- South Korea and the United States on Monday began their spring joint military drills just a day after North Korea, which has vowed a firm response to the war games, launched two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine.

The Freedom Shield military drills, which simulate the response to an attack on South Korea by Pyongyang, are due to last until March 23.

The South Korean and US military armies will also carry out some 20 ground drills as part of their Warrior Shield exercises.

The North, which regards such drills as a rehearsal for the invasion of its territory, has this year promised an “unprecedented response.”

On Sunday morning, hours ahead of the annual joint military drills held by South Korea and the US, North Korea fired two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine station at Kyongpho Bay in Hamgyong province, the country’s state news agency KCNA reported Monday.

The two missiles “precisely” hit a target in the Sea of Japan after flying 1,500 kilometers in figure-eight flight patterns for just over two hours.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff announced the detection of Sunday’s test “off the coast of Sinpo” just minutes before the North’s media published the news on Monday.

Sinpo, in South Hamgyong, is the site of North Korea’s main submarine development center.

The submarine used for the launch, according to the images and information provided by KCNA, was the so-called Sinpo model, which has been dubbed “8.24 Yongung” (Hero of August 24) and which the regime has used to fire ballistic missiles in the past.

The last such North Korean test took place in October 2021.

“The drill clearly expressed the invariable stand of the Korean People’s Army on persistently controlling the present situation in which the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces are getting evermore undisguised in their anti-DPRK military maneuvers,” KCNA said.

A representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told South Korean news agency Yonhap that their analysis suggested the missiles tested were not yet at operational level, contrary to the claims made by North Korean media. EFE


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