North Korea's Kim Oversees Country's First 'Nuclear Trigger' Drills in Response to US-South Korea Joint Air Drill

North Korea conducts 'nuclear trigger' drills, simulating a nuclear counterattack, raising concerns about regional stability and escalating tensions with the US and South Korea.

author-image
Nitish Verma
New Update
North Korea Conducts First-Ever 'Nuclear Trigger' Drills in Response to US-South Korea Joint Air Drill

North Korea Conducts First-Ever 'Nuclear Trigger' Drills in Response to US-South Korea Joint Air Drill

On April 22, 2023, North Korea carried out its inaugural 'nuclear trigger' drills, simulating a nuclear counterattack involving super-large multiple rocket artillery. The drills were in response to a US-South Korean joint air drill, with the North Korean military hitting targets 352 kilometers away. This was the first time North Korea had publicly acknowledged conducting such a nuclear-related military exercise.

The drills were supervised by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and were aimed at demonstrating the strength and diverse attack means of North Korea's nuclear forces amid deepening tensions with the US and South Korea. Kim expressed 'great satisfaction' over the result of the drill, which was described as a 'clear warning signal to the enemies,' referring to South Korea and the United States.

The exercise was conducted simulating a scenario where North Korea's 'greatest nuclear crisis alarm' was issued, prompting the firing of shells tipped with mock nuclear warheads. The super-large multiple rocket launchers accurately hit an island target, showcasing North Korea's nuclear attack capabilities and its readiness to respond to any military provocation.

The launches were described as critical for preparing North Korea's nuclear force to be able to rapidly and correctly carry out their important mission of preventing a war and seizing the initiative in a war at any time and in any sudden situation. These comments reflected North Korea's escalatory nuclear doctrine, which authorizes the military to launch preemptive nuclear strikes against enemies if it perceives the leadership as under threat.

Why this matters: The 'nuclear trigger' drills mark a notable escalation in North Korea's nuclear posturing and demonstrate its willingness to engage in provocative military actions. The drills raise concerns about the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the potential for further escalation of tensions between North Korea and its adversaries.

The launch is the second in less than a week by Pyongyang, which has been intensifying its weapons testing and development program. Analysts have warned that North Korea could be testing cruise missiles ahead of sending them to Russia for use in Ukraine, despite UN sanctions banning such moves. The launch comes after Russia used its UN Security Council veto to effectively end UN monitoring of sanctions violations on North Korea's nuclear and weapons program.

Key Takeaways

  • North Korea conducted its first 'nuclear trigger' drills, simulating a nuclear counterattack.
  • The drills were supervised by Kim Jong Un and aimed to demonstrate North Korea's nuclear capabilities.
  • The drills involved super-large multiple rocket launchers hitting targets 352 km away.
  • The drills reflect North Korea's escalatory nuclear doctrine and willingness to engage in provocations.
  • The launch comes amid North Korea's intensifying weapons testing and Russia's veto of UN sanctions.