North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile Sunday, as the US and South Korea continued large-scale joint drills


  • North Korea's military drills included a nuclear missile test launch
  • Kim Jong Un said North Korea's nuclear force is strong enough to deter any attacks from its enemies
  • North Korea's military drills involving a ballistic missile launch received harsh condemnations from several countries

North Korea conducted tactical drills simulating an "overwhelming nuclear counterattack" against its enemies over the weekend in the face of the U.S. and South Korea's joint military exercise.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the military drills held Saturday and Sunday, including a ballistic missile launch drill designed to check the operational reliability of its nuclear explosion control devices and detonators, the North's state-run news agency KCNA reported.

Pictures published by KCNA showed that his 10-year-old daughter Ju-ae also attended the drills, according to South Korea's Korea Herald.

The short-range ballistic missile, which was tipped with a test warhead, flew 500 miles from the North's capital of Pyongyang before landing in the Sea of Japan, South Korea's joint chiefs of staff said Sunday.

Kim said that the drills were meant to prepare their military against their adversaries.

"Saying that it is very important to continuously organize and conduct such drills under the simulated conditions of an actual war, [Kim] stressed the need to let service personnel get familiar with any unexpected circumstances and make them more perfectly prepared in their active posture of making an immediate and overwhelming nuclear counterattack anytime," the KCNA said in an English-language report.

Kim also boasted about North Korea's nuclear force, saying it will "strongly deter" any "reckless moves and provocations with its high war readiness."

North Korea's military drills involving a ballistic missile launch received harsh condemnations from several countries.

Japan accused North Korea of undermining international peace and security, calling the ballistic missile launch "unacceptable."

The White House National Security Council previously said that North Korea's missile launches showed that the country "continues to prioritize its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs over the well-being of its people."

The U.S. and South Korea, the North's top rivals, are currently in the thick of their 11-day annual joint military exercise dubbed "Freedom Shield 23." This year's joint military exercise between the two close allies was the largest since 2017.

Joining the two countries in the military exercise are the United Nations Command and representatives of other U.N. states.

According to United States Forces Korea, the exercises aim to increase their militaries' "combat readiness and combined defense posture, as well as strengthen the security and stability on the Korean peninsula and across Northeast Asia."

The joint training also intends to deepen U.S.-South Korea military cooperation through air, land, sea, space, cyber, and special operations.

However, retired South Korean army Gen. Chun In-bum was worried that North Korea could use the joint military exercises to ramp up its production of weapons of mass destruction and unify its people against the U.S. and South Korea.

"More acts of intimidation from North Korea should not come as a surprise," said Chun.

A North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur