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North Korea Says 18 Ballistic Missile Salvo Was A Warning To South Korea’s ‘Gangsters’ Regime’

North Korea said it had fired 18 short-range ballistic missiles during a drill. It said this was a demonstration of its willingness to launch a pre-emptive strike against South Korea’s “gangsters’ regime” if necessary.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided the firing drill of the 600 mm “super-large” multiple rocket launchers on Thursday.

South Korea said it had detected at least 10 short-range ballistic missiles fired by North Korea off its east coast. It called it a possible display for would-be weapons buyers.

Deputy spokesperson for Seoul’s unification ministry Kim In-ae told a briefing that the launch was a clear act of provocation that threatened peace on the Korean peninsula.

KCNA reported that artillery troops successfully hit the target of an island about 365 km (230 miles) away. Kim Jong Un oversaw the demonstration at the launch site.

Photos published by state media showed 18 missiles, identified by experts as KN-25s, rising into the air from mobile launchers.

The “super-large” rocket was first tested in 2019. The Center for International and Strategic Studies says it blurs the distinction between multiple-launch rocket systems and short-range ballistic missiles.

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North Korea has said a tactical nuclear weapon could be fitted to such missiles.

The US State Department condemned Thursday’s launch as “reckless” and “violating” multiple UNSC resolutions.

The US Defense Intelligence Agency said analysis of debris imagery confirmed Russia has fielded North Korean missiles in its war in Ukraine.

Russia and North Korea have denied arms deals. However, they have vowed to deepen cooperation in all sectors.

North Korea sent hundreds of balloons carrying trash and manure across the heavily fortified border to South Korea, calling them “gifts of sincerity.” This prompted an angry response from Seoul, which said the act was base and dangerous.

With inputs from Reuters