North Korea launched submarine-launched cruise missiles on Sunday as a protest against the joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. The drills, called Freedom Shield 23, began on Monday and include a computer simulation and various combined field training exercises known as the Warrior Shield FTX.
The aim of the exercises is to enhance the allies’ defense and response capabilities, as North Korea’s nuclear threats and other security challenges continue to escalate. North Korea’s submarine-launched missile systems can give the country retaliatory attack capabilities, making it harder for its enemies to detect launches in advance.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un views his nuclear arsenal as his primary security guarantee and is pressuring the United States to accept the country as a legitimate nuclear power while easing international economic sanctions.
The launch of the missiles marks the latest in a series of provocations from North Korea, which has conducted several missile tests in recent months. The tests have drawn international criticism, including from the United States, which has called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.
The joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States have long been a point of contention for North Korea, which views them as a threat to its national security. Pyongyang has repeatedly called for the exercises to be canceled or scaled back, but the South Korean and U.S. governments have maintained that the drills are necessary for their defense.
The latest round of exercises comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, with North Korea threatening to carry out further missile tests and the United States ramping up its military presence in the region. The situation has prompted concern among neighboring countries and the international community, who fear that any escalation could lead to a larger conflict.
The launch of the submarine-launched cruise missiles highlights the ongoing security challenges in the region and underscores the need for continued vigilance and cooperation among allies. It remains to be seen how the United States and South Korea will respond to North Korea’s latest provocation, but the incident is likely to add to the already tense situation on the Korean peninsula.