North Korea leader Kim Jong-un warned troops to be "prepared in their active posture of making an immediate and overwhelming nuclear counterattack [at] anytime" following nuclear missile tests held over the weekend, CNN reports.
Kim accused the United States and South Korea of expanding joint military drills near his country and claimed his country's drills were in response to those, as preparation for a nuclear counterattack on North Korea's enemies, telling state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that efforts had "greatly improved the actual war capability of the units." KCNA reported that a North Korean ballistic missile equipped with a mock nuclear warhead successfully flew an estimated 500 miles before hitting a target at an altitude of 0.5 miles during the country's mock scenario of a nuclear counterattack.
The United States had participated in joint air drills with South Korea as part of "Freedom Shield," the largest joint military exercises between the two countries, on Sunday (March 19), prior to North Korea's simulation. North Korea had previously fired submarine missiles ahead of the "Freedom Shield" exercises as a form of protest, according to CNN.
Kim, who was shown alongside his daughter, Kim Ju Ae, was quoted by state-run media as saying the drills were “very important to continuously organize and conduct such drills under the simulated conditions of an actual war.” Kim Ju Ae, who is believed to be around 9 years old, has repeatedly been shown by state-run media alongside her father during missile launches in recent months and would likely be in line to continue their family's hereditary dictatorship.
Kim II Sung initially ruled over North Korea since its founding in 1948 before being succeeded in death by his son, Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Jong-un, in 1994. Kim Jong-un took over following his father's death in 2011.