Monday, February 20, 2023

Kim Jong Un's sister warns of turning the Pacific into a "firing range"

North Korean leader Kim's sister warns of turning Pacific into 'firing range'


SEOUL: On Monday, two additional ballistic missiles were launched by North Korea off its east coast. The powerful sister of the country's leader Kim Jong Un also issued a warning to US forces to halt military drills, stating that the nuclear state could transform the Pacific into a "firing range."

The launches come just two days after North Korea launched an ICBM into the sea off Japan's west coast. This prompted the United States to hold air exercises on Sunday, one with South Korea and the other with Japan.

The state media in North Korea confirmed that two projectiles were fired from a multiple rocket launcher at distances of 395 kilometers (245 miles) and 337 kilometers (209 miles), respectively.

State news agency KCNA stated, "The 600mm multiple rocket launcher mobilized in the firing... is a means of tactical nuclear weapon" and that it was able to "paralyze" an enemy airfield.

According to the Defense Ministry of Japan, the two missiles were launched around 2200 GMT, reached a maximum altitude of approximately 50 kilometers, and they landed outside of Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone.

The missiles flew 390 and 340 kilometers, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea, who strongly condemned the launches as a "grave provocation" that should be stopped immediately.

It stated in a statement, "We will maintain solid readiness posture based on security cooperation with the United States and Japan and our ability to overwhelmingly respond to any North Korean provocations."

On Monday, the foreign ministry of Seoul announced sanctions against four individuals and five organizations associated with Pyongyang's weapons programs, including two shipping companies from Singapore and one South African national.

The most recent launch, according to the US Indo-Pacific Command, highlights the "destabilizing impact" of the isolated nation's illegal weapons programs rather than posing an immediate threat.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the United Nations, urged Pyongyang to resume denuclearization talks and "immediately desist from taking any further provocative actions," which are prohibited by Security Council resolutions.

Following the weekend's joint air drills with the United States' Asian allies, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong, issued a warning against an increase in the presence of US strategic assets.

In a statement that was distributed by KCNA, she stated, "The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends on the action character of the US forces."

South Korea and the United States are scheduled to hold simulated nuclear tabletop exercises this week with the goal of improving the operation of American nuclear assets, according to analysts, and annual springtime Freedom Shield field training in March.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, stated, "Tension on the Peninsula is likely to reach its peak in the coming months as North Korea is accelerating its military actions with greater frequency, and her statement indicates that it would continue impromptu missile tests using the Pacific as its shooting range."

According to Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Monday's missile launch and statement are consistent with the North Korean foreign ministry's recent threat to respond to the allies' joint military drills with "unprecedentedly persistent, strong" actions.

Park stated, "The statement by Kim Yo Jong signals there would be additional provocations." "North Korea seems to be trying to reinforce its nuclear capability by raising issue over the drills."

After firing an unprecedented number of missiles last year, including ICBMs capable of striking anywhere in the United States, the North has conducted its third known weapon test this year.

Additionally, Kim Yo Jong criticized the assessment of South Korea's missile capabilities made by some experts, stating that it took over nine hours for the "sudden" missile launch to take place following an order from the leader Kim. He also stated that South Korea didn't even fly reconnaissance planes at the time of the launch.

She stated, "We have sufficient technology and capability, and we will now concentrate on increasing the quantity of their force." We reaffirm our determination to see the worst maniacs who are escalating the tensions pay the price for their actions.

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