SEOUL ( Associated Press) — The US and South Korean militaries launched eight ballistic missiles into the sea on Monday, a joint show of force comparable to a North Korean missile fired a day earlier and part of a series of provocative military tests.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, eight military Strategic Missile System missiles, one American and seven South Korean, were fired into waters east of South Korea in an associated live-fire exercise within 10 minutes of the air and maritime security advisory being issued. were launched. and US forces in the country.
According to South Korea’s military, the launch was intended to demonstrate its ability to quickly and accurately respond to North Korean attacks.
The South Korean military on Sunday detected eight short-range North Korean missiles launched within about 35 minutes from at least four different locations: areas on the east and west coasts and two inland points north and the capital Pyongyang. Near. The exhibition appeared to be a record for ballistic launches for the country.
It was the North’s 18th missile round in 2022, a streak that included its first ICBM launch in nearly five years. South Korean and US officials also say Pyongyang is preparing its first nuclear test since September 2017 as its leader Kim Jong Un seeks to consolidate his country’s status as a nuclear power and negotiate economic and security concessions. trying to do.
US and South Korean forces conducted a similar live-fire exercise after North Korea’s earlier ballistic launch on May 25, which included an ICBM launched on a trajectory medium-range and two short-range weapons, the South Korean military said. Was. Those tests came after US President Joe Biden concluded his trip to South Korea and Japan, where he reaffirmed US commitment to protect both allies.
During a speech marking the country’s Memorial Day, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said his government would pursue “fundamental and practical security capabilities” to counter the growing threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles.
“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs have escalated to the point where they are not only a threat to the Korean Peninsula, but also to Northeast Asia and world peace,” Yoon said at the North Korean National Cemetery. “We will give a befitting reply to any provocation by North Korea.”