Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, referred to the Pacific Ocean as the country’s “firing range”
Yo Jong’s statement follows North Korea’s ballistic missile launch and nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch into Japan’s west coast sea over the weekend.
“We are well aware of the movement of U.S. forces’ strategic strike means recently getting brisk around the Korean Peninsula,” Yo Jong said in a statement to state news outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“We are carefully examining the influence it would exert on the security of our state, and we are going to make it an established fact, once again on this occasion, that we will take corresponding counteraction if it is judged to be any direct or indirect threat,” she continued. “The frequency of using the Pacific as our firing range depends upon the US forces’ action character.”
Kim Jong Un’s sister threatens to turn Pacific into ‘firing range’ https://t.co/RsG2dOMpU9 pic.twitter.com/4N548IFL7P
— New York Post (@nypost) February 20, 2023
“They had better rack their brains to take measures to defend themselves, instead of doubting or worrying about other’s technology,” Kim Yo Jong said of South Korean officials who reportedly questioned the efficacy of North Korea’s ICBM.
“We affirm once again that there is no change in our will to make the worst maniacs escalating the tensions pay the price for their action.”
The North Korean missile launches reportedly simulated strikes on targets up to 245 miles away. The missiles flew at an altitude around 30-60 miles and a distance of 210-250 miles, according to Japanese and South Korean officials.
The United States held separate joint exercises with South Korea and Japan on Saturday in response to North Korea’s ICBM launch.
Analysts reportedly said Yo Jong’s statement may point towards North Korea’s plans to fire more missiles possibly in the direction of Guam, a United States territory, the New York Post reported.
United States and South Korean military have scheduled “simulated nuclear tabletop exercises” reportedly aimed at improving operations of U.S. nuclear assets this week, though North Korea’s foreign ministry warned the country would respond to drills with “unprecedentedly persistent, strong counteractions.”
North Korea’s missile launches have been referred to as a “consequence of self-indulgence” and cannot be justified, according to phone calls between South Korean foreign ministry and United States and Japanese counterparts.
The United States’ commitment to South Korean defense remains “ironclad,” according to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric reportedly urged the North Korean capitol of Pyongyang to halt their “provocations” banned under Security Council resolutions and resume efforts to denuclearize the state.