North Korea stages simulation of ‘scorched earth’ nuclear strike


North Korea has performed a simulated “scorched earth” nuclear strike on targets across South Korea.

The exercise is in response to joint drills that have been held by South Korea, Japan and the US this week – which Pyongyang repeatedly denounces as a rehearsal for war.

State media set out how the North envisions a potential war in unusual detail.

North Korean leader Kim Jong visits the training center of the General Staff Department of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an undisclosed location in North Korea in this picture released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and obtained by Reuters on August 31, 2023
Kim visits a training centre for soldiers

The drill rehearsed repelling a sudden invasion, striking its neighbour with nuclear weapons, then sweeping in to occupy territory.

In the scenario, “simultaneous super-intense strikes” also targeted military command centres, ports, operational airfields and other targets in South Korea.

Hours after the US deployed B-1B bombers for allied air drills on Wednesday, North Korea also fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.

That late-night launch followed two unsuccessful attempts to put a spy satellite into orbit.

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Kim Jong Un’s secretive state has been condemned by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who told reporters: “These conducts pose threats to peace and stability of not only our country, but of the region and international community, and cannot be tolerated.”

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees a strategic cruise missile test aboard a navy warship in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 21, 2023
Kim oversaw a strategic cruise missile test aboard a navy warship earlier this month

The Japanese government has stressed it will intercept North Korean missiles if they fly over its territory.

Kim has been urging his military to become increasingly ready – describing leaders of the US, South Korea and Japan as “gang bosses” who increase the risk of nuclear war in the region.

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