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N Korea says it simulated nuke attacks with drone, missiles


North Korea said Friday its cruise missile launches this week were part of nuclear attack simulations that also involved a detonation by a purported underwater drone as leader Kim Jong Un vowed to make his rivals “plunge into despair.”
North Korea has stepped up its weapons demonstrations in a tit-for-tat response to military exercises between the United States and its ally South Korea aimed at countering the North’s growing nuclear threat. The allies completed an 11-day exercise that included their biggest field training in years on Thursday, but North Korea is expected to continue its weapons tests as the United States reportedly plans to send an aircraft carrier in coming days for another round of joint drills with the South.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim supervised a three-day exercise that simulated nuclear counterattacks against enemy naval assets and ports that involved detonations of mock nuclear warheads. KCNA said the drills were aimed at alerting the United States and South Korea of a brewing “nuclear crisis” as they continue with their “intentional, persistent and provocative war drills” the North portrays as invasion rehearsals.
KCNA said the drills verified the operational reliability of an underwater nuclear attack drone the North has been developing since 2012. It said the drone was deployed off the North’s eastern coast on Tuesday, traveled underwater for nearly 60 hours and detonated a test warhead at a target standing for an enemy port.
North Korea is believed to have dozens of nuclear warheads and may be capable of fitting them on older weapons systems, such as Scuds or Rodong missiles. However, there are different assessments on how far it has advanced in engineering those warheads to fit on the new weapons it has developed at a rapid pace, which might require further technological upgrades and nuclear tests.

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