Hwasong-15 launched from Sunan

KCNA Photo

On the afternoon (KST) of 18 February (Saturday), the DPRK’s Missile General Bureau managed a drill of the Hwasong-15 theater ballistic missile from the Sunan area of Pyongyang.

The missile drill was held after an “emergency” order was issued on the morning of 18 February by Kim Jong Un in his capacity as Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea [WPK] Central Military Commission [CMC].  The missile drill was undertaken by the 1st Red Flag Hero Company, “a firepower sub-unit with the most excellent combat capability among those sub-units wholly responsible for the strategic mission” and described as having a “rich launching experience among the units operating ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles.” The 1st Red Flag Hero Company also participated in the Hwasong-17 missile launch on 18 November 2022.

The CMC order specified that the 1st Red Hero Flag Company “should be mobilized in a drill using ICBM Hwasongpho-15 and, through a sudden launching drill, the reliability of the weapon system should be re-confirmed and verified while getting the combat preparedness of the DPRK nuclear force recognized and providing confidence and the guarantee for correct operation, reactivity, reliability, effectiveness and combat capability of the components of the state nuclear deterrence.”

According to DPRK state media the Hwasong-15 “traveled up to a maximum altitude of 5, 768.5 km and flew 989 km for 4,015 seconds before accurate hitting the pre-set area in open waters of the East Sea of Korea” for which the 1st Red Flag Hero Company got “an excellent mark.”

The CMC “highly appreciate the actual war capacity of the ICBM units which are ready for mobile and might counterattack.”  The CMC also gave “all missile units, assigned to a strategic task for coping with the military circumstances prevailing in the Korean Peninsula, an order to thoroughly maintain their strengthened combat readiness.”

The drill was “actual proof of the DPRK nuclear force’s consistent efforts to turn its capacity of fatal nuclear counterattack on the hostile forces into the irresistible one as well as a guarantee for and a clear proof of the sure reliability of our powerful physical nuclear deterrent.”

Kim Yo Jong (left) meets with Song Tao in Pyongyang on April 13, 2018 (NK Leadership Watch file photo).

Meanwhile, following up the Hwasong-15 drill, Kim Yo Jong (Kim Yo’-cho’ng) issued a statement on 19 February (Sunday):

If all the countries truly worry about the situation on the Korean peninsula and wish for peace and stability, they should never tolerate the high-handed and arbitrary practices of the U.S. to turn the UNSC with heavy responsibility for the international peace and security into a tool for its heinous hostile policy toward the DPRK.

And they should not connive at the sinister attempts of the U.S. and its followers to make a sovereign state give up its legitimate rights to self-defense, but let them know that such acts are in vain.

This time, too, the opponents to the DPRK committed an undisguised infringement upon its sovereignty for no ground.

The US and south Korea are openly showing their dangerous greed and attempt to gain the military upper hand and predominant position in the Korean Peninsula, crying out for extended deterrence and combined defense posture on the trite pretext for coping with any threat. This further endangers the situation every moment, destroying the stability of the region.

The US would be well-advised to stop saying that it is not hostile toward the DPRK and the door to dialogue is open, hoodwinking the world, and to give up its foolish trick for earning the time through dialogue. And it should stop all the actions posing threats to the security of our state and refuse to tarnish the DPRK’s dignity, always thinking twice for its own future security.

South Korea, too, had better think of the consequences to be entailed by its reckless acts.

We tell its fools that our ICBM will not be aimed at Seoul.

We still have no intention to stand face to face with them.

Upon authorization, I warn that we will watch every movement of the enemy and take corresponding and very powerful and overwhelming counteraction against its every move hostile to us.

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