SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Monday it conducted drills simulating a tactical nuclear counterattack against its enemies over the weekend, as the United States and South Korea are staging their joint annual military exercise.
The North's leader Kim Jong-un "guided" the exercises of its military units operating tactical nuclear weapons Saturday and Sunday, including a ballistic missile launch drill, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Photos carried by state media showed his daughter Ju-ae also oversaw the drills.
Kim called for fully establishing the country's readiness posture for nuclear attacks against its enemies, as the U.S. and the South have been "frantically" carrying out a "rehearsal of invasion" of the North, involving American military assets.
"We cannot deter the war only with the fact that we are a nuclear state. Only when we completes the country's readiness posture for nuclear attacks that can be operated swiftly and accurately at any time, we can fulfill the important, strategic mission of deterring war," Kim was quoted as saying by the KCNA.
The North said it conducted a drill to review the reliability of its tactical nuclear force Saturday.
On Sunday morning, the country held a ballistic missile launch drill simulating the country carrying out a tactical nuclear attack in a bid to check the operational reliability of its nuclear explosion control devices and detonators, according to the KCNA.
It said the missile, fired from Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, precisely "exploded in the air" at a height of 800 meters above the East Sea, after flying 800 kilometers.
South Korea's military said Sunday it detected the firing of a short-range ballistic missile from the Tongchang-ri area in the North's western part toward the East Sea. It flew some 800 kilometers before splashing into the sea.
The Freedom Shield military exercise of the allies are under way in and around the peninsula, aimed at bolstering their defense posture against the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats.