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North Korea says it has simulated ‘scorched earth’ nuclear strikes on South Korea

People watch a television showing a news broadcast with a photo of a North Korean missile test (AFP via Getty Images)
People watch a television showing a news broadcast with a photo of a North Korean missile test (AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea says it has simulated “scorched earth” nuclear strikes on South Korea in a further escalation of its sabre-rattling rhetoric.

Pyongyang said it has been rehearsing the occupation of the south’s territory in the event of conflict, and that it had fired two tactical ballistic missiles from the capital on Wednesday night to practise strikes on its neighbour.

The ruling Kim regime said its missile tests were in response to the United States’ flyover of long-range B-1B bombers in joint exercises with South Korea.

According to South Korean and Japanese assessments, the two short-range missiles travelled a distance of up to 250 miles before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launches “a grave provocation" that threatens international peace and violates UN Security Council resolutions that ban any ballistic launches by North Korea.

North Korea, a total dictatorship headed by Kim Jong-Un, often issues threats in response to the US flyovers, which it claims is preparation for invasion.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the training command post in North Korea. (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspecting the training command post in North Korea. (KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

Washington and Seoul regularly carry out the defensive drills because the US is committed to maintaining the security of South Korea. The US stations about 28,000 troops in South Korea.

The North Korean state news agency said Kim Jong-Un visited an army post in response to the drills where he said the regime needed to “deal a heavy blow at the enemy’s war potential and war command centre and blinding their means of command communication at the initial stage of operation”.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry said it strongly condemns North Korea over the missile tests.

It warned North Korea would only face “an overwhelming response" by South Korea, the US and Japan if it continues its provocation and military threats.

The ministry said it was North Korean state media’s first report on command post drills involving the whole military since Mr Kim took power in late 2011.

North Korea has long openly threatened to use its nuclear weapons first in potential conflicts with South Korea and the US.