South Korea, US to simulate attack on nuclear facility

(FILES) A picture taken in 1971 shows a nuclear explosion in Mururoa atoll. France said on March 24, 2009 it will compensate 150,000 victims of nuclear testing carried out in the 1960s in French Polynesia and Algeria, after decades of denying its responsibility. An initial sum of 10 million euros (14 million dollars) has been set aside for military and civilian staff as well as local populations who fell ill from radiation exposure, Defence Minister Herve Morin told Le Figaro newspaper. AFP PHOTO FILES / STRINGER (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
How fast can a nuke fly? (2016)
02:27 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

The two countries will simulate attacks on nuclear facilities and sudden missile strikes

The announcement comes after North Korea conducted a nuclear test this month

Seoul CNN  — 

South Korea and the United States will conduct a mock attack on a nuclear facility next month, an official with the South Korean Defense Department told CNN.

Though the official said the drills are not aimed particularly at North Korea, the announcement comes less than two weeks after North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a nuclear warhead – its second nuclear test this year and fifth one ever.

The US and South Korea will also simulate what to do in the event of a sudden missile attack.

READ: Will North Korea’s next missile test have a nuclear warhead?

North Korea’s nuclear test prompted a strong rebuke from the international community, with South Korea saying it was “getting ready for the worst case scenario.”

The simulation, dubbed joint exercise “Red Flag,” will take place in Alaska from October 3 until October 21.

North Korean state media called the South “puppet warmongerers” when reporting the upcoming military drills.

READ: North Korea claims successful test of rocket engine

The munitions

In its announcement, South Korea said the nuclear facility attack simulation will take place using a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition, a kit that converts bombs that normally just free-fall from planes into guided munitions.

A GBU-31(V)3/B 2,000 lb penetrator is loaded into the weapons bay of a USAF B-1B during combat operations over Iraq in 2003.

The weapon system made its debut during NATO’s air campaign in the Kosovo conflict and was most recently used in NATO’s 2011 Libya campaign, according to the US Air Force.

Another show of force

The US on Wednesday also announced that it conducted its second show of force operation in two weeks in South Korea to send North Korea a message.

It sent two B-1B bombers to fly alongside the Korean demilitarized zone, a source told CNN.

“The bond between the United States and the Republic of Korea is ironclad and the strength of that commitment will not be shaken by North Korea’s aggressive behavior,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeson, 7th Air Force commander.

“What we are showing today is just one tool we have to choose from a wide array of options,” Bergeson said.

The US flew B-1 bombers over Seoul on September 13th in a show of force responding to the recent North Korean nuclear test.

A day after that flyover, North Korea accused the US of “bluffing” and “blustering” with the flyover and said such actions were inflaming tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

CNN’s Brad Lendon contributed to this report