South Korea's air force has released a provocative video this week showing a simulated pre-emptive strike against North Korean weapons systems at a moment of soaring tensions over a series of missile tests.
There are also new concerns Pyongyang could be preparing for the launch an intercontinental ballistic missile after warning the US a surprise "Christmas gift" awaits.
The just released South Korea video includes narration declaring that "glory of victory is promised under any circumstances" in the event of a pre-emptive strike against the enemy.
The video sequence produced by the South Korean armed forces features a scenario where the north is preparing for an ICBM launch, during which multiple of the south's newly acquired F-35A stealth jets are scrambled. "Precision strikes" are then carried out against North Korea's Hwasong-14, a North Korean ICBM first tested in 2017.
United Press International (UPI) describes the video further as follows:
The video from Seoul's military shows fictitious footage of the Global Hawk, a remotely piloted surveillance aircraft, detecting activity in North Korea, where the regime is seen setting up an ICBM on a mobile launch pad, South Korean television network JTBC reported Thursday.
The video also appeared to be a preview and showcasing of the long-awaited operational deployment of US-supplied F-35A stealth fighters as well as advanced intelligence-gathering RQ-4 Global Hawk drones.
North Korea has bristled at the addition of advanced stealth American aircraft, after a deal for limited transfer of small batches of aircraft was first struck in 2014.
According to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency:
South Korea will mark the operational deployment of F-35A stealth fighters in a ceremony to be held behind closed doors next week, the Air Force said Friday, amid heightened tensions with North Korea.
South Korea has so far brought in 13 F-35As, beginning with two in late March, under a plan to deploy 40 fifth-generation jets through 2021. North Korea has strongly bristled at the introduction of the state-of-the-art fighters as a sign of hostility.
Meanwhile, after test-firing two short-range missiles on Thanksgiving Day (which Japan alleged actually may have been a banned ICBM) in a now familiar pattern of doing threatening things on American holidays, Pyongyang declared at the start of December that it's planning a "Christmas gift" for the United States, but without specifying what the potentially menacing 'surprise' gift could be.
Many fear that this latest threat could be a sign that North Korea is preparing to resume long-distance missiles tests, also amid a looming end-of-year deadline set by Pyongyang on nuclear negotiations with Trump.