North Korea's military claims missile tests were practice for attack
North Korea's military claimed Monday its spate of missile launches in recent days were "simulating the attack" on South Korean and U.S. targets in response to the two countries' joint drills.
The big picture: North Korea's military launched a series of missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), as the U.S. and South Korea conducted the largest-ever air exercises in a six-day operation that ended Saturday.
- Officials in Seoul reported last Wednesday that North Korea's military fired a missile that crossed the disputed maritime border with South Korea for the first time since the countries' division in 1948.
- South Korea's Navy said Monday it had "recovered what is presumed to be the debris of the North's short-range ballistic missile" that landed some 50 miles from the South Korean coastal city of Ulsa, according to Seoul's Yonhap news agency.
Details: "As part of the countermeasures to smash the continued frenzy of war provocations of the enemy, our army launched to the east sea the super-large multiple launch rocket system, five tactical ballistic missiles of different kinds and 46 long-range missiles of multiple launch rocket system," the North Korean military said in a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency.
- It claimed to have test-fired a "special functional warhead paralysing the operation command system of the enemy" and the "mobilization of 500 fighters."
Yes, but: South Korean military spokesperson Kim Jun-rak disputed some of Pyongyang's claims, noting no cruise missile had been detected and that the North Korean military's statement didn't mention the "abnormal flight" of the ICBM that officials in Seoul had identified, per AP.
Between the lines: Joseph Dempsey, a defense researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, tweeted that the North Korean military's claims of 500 fighter aircrafts "seems exaggerated or at least misleading."
- KCNA released photos of what appeared to be a new type of ICBM that was not previously known, though analysts pointed out that some of the images appeared to be "recycled from launches earlier in the year," Reuters reports.
What they're saying: "Any nuclear attack against the United States or its allies and partners, including the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim regime," said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup in a joint statement Thursday condemning Pyongyang's barrage of launches.