(FreedomBeacon.com)- In an effort to prove it could deliver a nuclear warhead to US installations in South Korea and Japan, North Korea fired off two strategic cruise missiles from a submarine off its eastern coast. North Korea has warned of “unprecedented measures” in response to the upcoming large-scale military drills between the United States and South Korea.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry criticized the drills and the United States’ criticism of Pyongyang’s human rights record. A North Korean statement said the country will “to “mercilessly punish” the U.S. imperialists for challenging the sovereignty of their state and its “socialist system.”
Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, recently threatened that Pyongyang would turn the Pacific into a “firing range” if the US started operations. Furthermore, she said that Pyongyang will conduct reentry heat tests on its weapon designs.
Even if North Korea is only testing cruise missiles, the fact that it is doing it from a submarine raises serious security concerns. About 1,500 kilometers before impact, the missiles followed figure-8 trajectories (930 miles). Before the joint exercises, the North Korean government apparently demonstrated a “nuclear war deterrent measures” via the use of an underwater launching practice.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff in South Korea said they had recorded an “unidentified missile-test” by a North Korean submarine. In addition, “South Korean and US intelligence officers are carefully studying the exact details,” the JCS statement said.
In recent weeks, North Korea has conducted a number of missile tests, including one of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially deliver a nuclear weapon to the continental United States.
Freedom Shield is the largest joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea in recent memory, and it is designed to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. A rare threat of reprisal has come from North Korea, which has always condemned such drills as rehearsals for invasion and nuclear war.
North Korea views the Freedom Shield exercises as a prelude to invasion and nuclear war, despite the fact that their intended purpose is to bolster US and South Korean defenses against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.