North Korean military officials confirmed on Monday that their recent missile tests were intended as practice to "mercilessly" strike South Korean and American targets, as the East Asian country signals intent to attack military bases and operation command systems.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) escalated geopolitical tensions by firing dozens of missiles towards the sea last week in defiance of recent U.S.-South Korean air force drills. The DPRK's missile tests triggered evacuations in some Japanese and South Korean areas.
"The recent corresponding military operations by the Korean People’s Army are a clear answer of (North Korea) that the more persistently the enemies’ provocative military moves continue, the more thoroughly and mercilessly the KPA will counter them," the General Staff of North Korea’s military said in a statement carried by state media.
Korean People's Army (KPA) military officials confirmed that one of the tested missiles had a special functional warhead tasked with "paralyzing the operation command system of the enemy."
The military announcement reflects Kim Jong Un's resolve to not back down against U.S. and South Korean forces. The two countries issued a joint statement on Thursday, warning that any nuclear attacks would potentially end Kim's rule.
"Any nuclear attack against the United States or its allies and partners, including the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, is unacceptable and will result in the end of the Kim regime," South Korean Defense Minister Jong-Sup Lee said.
North Korea's military did not mention any intention to hit the U.S. mainland on Monday. According to experts, almost all North Korean missiles fired last week were likely short-range and nuclear-capable weapons – putting U.S. military bases in South Korea within striking range.
"The KPA General Staff once again clarifies that it will continue to correspond with all the anti-(North Korea) war drills of the enemy with the sustained, resolute and overwhelming practical military measures," a statement read.
The military drills have increased since South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol took office in May. The conservative leader has committed to a tougher stance towards North Korean provocations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.