North Korean leader's sister warns US stop military drills in region
20th February 2023

North Korean leader’s sister warns US to halt military drills in the region or Pacific will turn into ‘firing range’ – after the regime released two ballistic missiles off east coast

  • Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has cautioned the United States to end all military exercises in the area
  • She warned her country could turn the Pacific into a ‘firing range’ following this weekend’s joint air drills between the U.S. and its Asian allies
  • Her warning comes after North Korea fired two more ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday, the country’s third known weapons test this year

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned the U.S. to stop all military drills in the region saying her country could Pacific into a ‘firing range’.

Kim Yo Jong, warned against increased presence of U.S. strategic military assets following joint air drills with its Asian allies over the weekend.

Her warning comes after the reclusive nuclear state fired two more ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday. 

‘The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the U.S. forces’ action character,’ Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by KCNA. ‘We are well aware of the movement of U.S. forces’ strategic strike means recently getting brisk around the Korean Peninsula.’ 

Kim Yo Jong also criticized some South Korean experts’ assessment that the ‘sudden’ ICBM test required nine hours of preparations, saying the launch time was finalized after U.S. and South Korean scout planes involved in air patrols went away.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has cautioned the U.S. to end all military exercises in the area warning her country could turn the Pacific into a ‘firing range’

Kim Yo Jong’s warning comes after North Korea fired two more ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday, the country’s third known weapons test this year. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is pictured earlier this month

‘We have possessed satisfactory technology and capability and, now will focus on increasing the quantity of their force,’ she said. ‘We affirm once again that there is no change in our will to make the worst maniacs escalating the tensions pay the price for their action.’

Monday’s launches came just two days after North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the sea off Japan’s west coast, prompting the United States to hold joint air exercises with South Korea and separately with Japan on Sunday.

North Korea’s state media confirmed it fired two projectiles from a multiple rocket launcher, aiming at targets 245 miles and 209 miles away, respectively.

‘The 600mm multiple rocket launcher mobilized in the firing… is a means of tactical nuclear weapon,’ capable of ‘paralyzing’ an enemy airfield, state news agency KCNA said.

Monday’s missile launch is the North’s third known weapons test this year after it fired an unprecedented number of missiles last year, including ICBMs capable of striking anywhere in the United States. 

A Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is launched at Pyongyang International Airport, in Pyongyang, North Korea on Saturday 

Military chiefs said South Korea has increased surveillance and is coordinating with the U.S. to prepare for any necessary response (U.S. B-1B bombers flying with South Korean jets, Sunday)

A TV screen shows a file image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, February 18, 2023

Japan’s Defense Ministry said the two missiles, fired around 2200 GMT, reached a maximum altitude of about 100 km and 50 km, and fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he had requested an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting over the launches, and Jiji news agency said the gathering was set for 2000 GMT Monday.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff strongly condemned the launches as a ‘grave provocation’ that should be ceased immediately.

Seoul’s foreign ministry announced sanctions on four individuals and five entities linked to Pyongyang’s weapons programs on Monday over the latest ICBM and missile tests, in what it called its fastest-ever such response to the North’s provocations.

‘Our government has made it clear that North Korea’s provocations will definitely come at a price. Its repeated provocations will result in strengthening South Korea-U.S. deterrence and tightening the global sanctions network,’ the ministry said in a statement.

South Korea’s military said North Korea on Saturday fired one suspected long-range missile from its capital toward the sea, a day after it threatened to take strong measures against South Korea and the U.S. over their joint military exercises

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the latest launch did not pose an immediate threat but highlights the ‘destabilizing impact’ of North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs.

North Korea’s state media said Sunday the ICBM test was meant to further bolster its ‘fatal’ nuclear attack capacity and verify the weapon´s reliability and the combat readiness of the country´s nuclear force. 

In an earlier statement on Sunday, Kim Yo Jong threatened to take additional powerful steps over upcoming military drills between the United States and South Korea.

North Korea has steadfastly slammed regular South Korea-U.S. military drills as an invasion rehearsal though the allies say their exercises are defensive in nature.

U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers fly in formation with South Korea’s Air Force F-35A fighter jets and U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets over the South Korea Peninsula on Sunday

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric urged Pyongyang to ‘immediately desist from taking any further provocative actions’ banned under Security Council resolutions, and resume denuclearization dialogue.

The United States and South Korea are set to hold simulated nuclear tabletop exercises aimed at improving operations of American nuclear assets this week, as well as annual springtime Freedom Shield field training in March.

‘Tension on the peninsula is likely to reach its peak in coming months as North Korea is accelerating its military actions with higher frequency, and her statement indicates that it would continue impromptu missile tests using the Pacific as its shooting range,’ said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, said Monday’s missile launch and statement are in line with the North Korean foreign ministry’s recent threat to take ‘unprecedentedly persistent, strong’ responses to the allies’ joint military drills.

‘North Korea seems to be trying to reinforce its nuclear capability by raising issue over the drills,’ Park said.

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