North Korea says missile tests were practice for attacks on US and South Korea

North Korea has claimed its recent missile tests were practice for real attacks on the US and South Korea.

Dozens of missiles were fired, while warplanes were flown towards the sea, triggering evacuation alerts in some South Korean and Japanese areas.

The regime said it was practice to "mercilessly" strike key South Korean and US targets such as air bases in protest at massive US-South Korean air force drills.

READ MORE: Kim Jong-un shows off pics of recent missile launches in response to US and South Korea

The North added it views the action by the US and South as an invasion rehearsal, calling them an “open provocation and dangerous war drill”, and it had to respond.

A statement from the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said North Korea would continue to respond to military exercises by South Korea and the US with “sustained, resolute and overwhelming practical military measures”, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday.

The US and South Korea said in a joint statement the drills were a response to an "increased volume and scale of (North Korean) missile tests over the past year".

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They said considering the evolving threat of the North, both leaders would be committed to expanding the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training.

“The significance of this joint exercise is rebuilding the South Korea-US alliance and solidifying the combined defence posture by normalising … combined exercises and field training,” the South Korean defence ministry said.

North Korea said the weapons tests involved ballistic missiles, underground infiltration warheads, ground-to-air missiles designed to "annihilate" enemy aircraft; and strategic cruise missiles that fell in international waters about 50 miles (80km) off South Korea's south-eastern coastal city of Ulsan.

The North's military said it also carried out an important test of a ballistic missile with a special functional warhead aimed at "paralysing the operation command system of the enemy".

After their annual meeting in Washington on Thursday, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defence Minister Lee Jong-Sup issued a joint statement strongly condemning the North's recent launches.

The statement carried Mr Austin's warning that any nuclear attacks against the United States or its allies and partners "is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim regime".

On Monday, South Korean Unification Minister Kwon Youngse told politicians that North Korea could carry out a nuclear test at any time but there are still no signs that such a test explosion is imminent.


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