Pyongyang Test Fires Two ‘Tactical’ Ballistic Missiles as US Flies Bombers, Conducts War Games

by | Aug 30, 2023

Pyongyang Test Fires Two ‘Tactical’ Ballistic Missiles as US Flies Bombers, Conducts War Games

by | Aug 30, 2023

kim and biden (3)

Hours after the US flew bombers in separate joint air drills with Tokyo and Seoul, North Korea test fired two short-range ballistic missiles. This comes as Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has warned that increased military provocations by the US, Japan, and South Korea could cause a nuclear war.

Ancillary to Washington’s massive Ulchi Freedom Shield annual joint war games with Seoul, a US B-1B flew alongside South Korean FA-50 jets and American F-16s on Wednesday. This marks Washington’s tenth such bomber flight this year.

The 11-day exercise involves tens of thousands of troops from both countries and will run until August 31. Pyongyang has denounced the drills as war rehearsals and responded by conducting a missile launch last week, which Kim personally oversaw.

Tokyo participated in a trilateral naval missile defense drill with the US and South Korea on Tuesday. In another exercise on Wednesday, two US B-1B bombers joined 12 Japanese fighters including four F-15 jets.

South Korea’s military announced Pyongyang launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea just hours later. Japanese media reported the two missiles landed outside of Tokyo’s exclusive economic zone.

North Korean state media described the missile launches as a “warning” against Washington’s strategic bomber deployments. Since 2022, gargantuan joint US-South Korean live fire war games have resumed and, in response, the DPRK has launched more than 100 missiles.

“The missile unit fired two tactical ballistic missiles northeastward at Pyongyang International Airport and correctly carried out its nuclear strike mission,” the KCNA news agency report added. The test-fire simulated strikes on South Korea’s command posts and airfields.

In a statement, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said “our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance in preparation for additional provocations, and is maintaining full readiness through close cooperation between Korea and the United States.”

Under the Joe Biden administration, tensions have been soaring on the Korean peninsula largely as a result of myriad war games which have seen the White House deploy nuclear capable bombers, aircraft carriers, and armed Reaper drones. Last month, a US nuclear-armed submarine docked in South Korea for the first time since 1981.

“Owing to the reckless confrontational moves of the US and other hostile forces, the waters off the Korean Peninsula have been reduced into the world’s biggest war hardware concentration spot, the most unstable waters with the danger of a nuclear war,” Kim admonished during a speech on Tuesday.

Last week, Biden, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met at Camp David. The White House declared the three sides agreed to a “multi-year trilateral exercise plan,” entailing a “multi-year trilateral framework that includes annual, named, multi-domain trilateral exercises, which will constitute an unprecedented level of trilateral defense cooperation.” The burgeoning alliance is ancillary to Washington’s buildup in the Asia-Pacific for a coming war with China.

US Space Force officials said on Wednesday that the US and South Korean militaries will be closely integrating their systems for tracking Pyongyang’s missile launches, eyeing deeper cooperation – in the near term – with Japan.

The US intelligence community assesses Kim will use his nation’s nuclear-armed status solely as a means for achieving political and diplomatic ends, not for offensive military purposes. Expanded war drills will surely inflame tensions with Pyongyang.

However, Washington’s crippling sanctions remain imposed indefinitely as US officials periodically threaten the country with obliteration. The White House demands North Korea’s complete disarmament and denuclearization.

About Connor Freeman

Connor Freeman is the assistant editor and a writer at the Libertarian Institute, primarily covering foreign policy. He is a co-host on Conflicts of Interest. His writing has been featured in media outlets such as and Counterpunch, as well as the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. He has also appeared on Liberty Weekly, Around the Empire, and Parallax Views. You can follow him on Twitter @FreemansMind96

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