North Korea has launched a series of cruise missiles in response to the recent presence of a US ballistic missile submarine in South Korea. The missiles were detected by Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff early in the morning. This comes just days after North Korea threatened a nuclear response if the US deploys more military assets in South Korea.
In a statement shared by state media channel KCNA, North Korean Defense Minister Kang Sun-nam accused the US and South Korea of crossing a “red line” in their military actions and argued that the deployment of nuclear submarines and other strategic assets justifies the use of nuclear weapons, as specified in North Korean military doctrine.
The recent tensions between North Korea and the US were triggered by the docking of the USS Kentucky in Busan, marking the first time a US ballistic missile submarine has visited the peninsula since the 1980s. The Ohio-class submarine is capable of carrying up to 20 Trident II D5 intercontinental missiles.
The North Korean regime claims that despite repeated warnings, the US and South Korea held a meeting of the “nuclear consultative group” on July 18 to discuss the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea. As a show of force against this perceived provocation, Pyongyang launched two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.
In response to the escalating tensions, the US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby stated that Washington is ready for negotiations to denuclearize the Korean peninsula without preconditions. He argued that the deployment of a nuclear-capable submarine was necessary to protect not only allies but also the 38,000 US troops and their families stationed in South Korea.
The situation on the Korean peninsula remains highly volatile, with both North Korea and the US engaging in provocative actions and rhetoric. The recent launches of cruise and ballistic missiles by North Korea demonstrate their determination to respond forcefully to any perceived threat. The presence of US military assets, including nuclear submarines, in the region is seen by North Korea as a direct provocation and justification for their own nuclear capabilities.
International efforts to de-escalate the tension and find a peaceful resolution to the dispute have so far been unsuccessful. The threat of a nuclear conflict in the region remains a real and serious concern for the international community. The US and its allies must carefully consider their actions and approach to North Korea in order to prevent further escalation and promote dialogue.