Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) — US and South Korean forces launched eight ballistic missiles into the sea on Monday in a display of force that matched the North Korean missile display a day earlier, adding to a provocative streak in weapons displays.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the allies’ live-fire exercises involved eight Army Tactical Missile System missiles – one American and seven South Korean – that were fired by South Korea in 10 minutes after notifications for air and maritime security. Was fired in eastern waters. US Army Korea.
The South Korean military said the titular missile launch was intended to demonstrate its ability to respond quickly and accurately to North Korean attacks.
The South’s military on Sunday detected North Korea firing eight short-range missiles in 35 minutes from at least four different locations, including the western and eastern coastal areas and two inland areas north of and near the capital Pyongyang, which appears to be one. Country’s one-day record for ballistic launches.
It was North Korea’s 18th round of missile tests in 2022 alone – a streak that included the country’s first launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles in nearly five years. South Korean and US officials also say that North Korea is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since September 2017 as leader Kim Jong Un strengthens the North’s position as a nuclear power and strengthens economic and security from a position of strength. are on the verge of negotiating concessions.
US and South Korean forces conducted a similar live-fire exercise after North Korea’s previous ballistic launch on May 25, which the South Korean military said included an ICBM flown on a medium-range trajectory and two short-range weapons. Is. Those tests came as Biden ended his visits to South Korea and Japan, where he reaffirmed US commitment to protect both allies.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said during a speech on the country’s Memorial Day on Monday that his government would pursue “fundamental and practical security capabilities” to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons and missile threat.
“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs have reached a point where they threaten not only the Korean peninsula, but also Northeast Asia and world peace,” Yoon said at the National Cemetery in Seoul, adding that his government “tighten Will respond “to any North Korean provocation.”
Yoon, a conservative who took office in May, has vowed to strengthen the South’s defense with an alliance with the United States. Their goals include increasing missile strike and interception capabilities and resuming large-scale military exercises with the United States, which have been in recent years with Pyongyang, or to make room for diplomacy because of COVID-19. was suspended or reduced.
Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-in, who had staked his five-year term on inter-Korean engagement, avoided missile counter-drills after North Korea resumed ballistic missile tests in 2019 as the US With that his diplomacy had failed.
North Korean state media have yet to comment on Sunday’s launch. They came after the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan concluded a three-day naval exercise with South Korea in the Philippine Sea on Saturday, apparently their first joint exercise involving a carrier since November 2017, as the country continues its defense. Let’s move on to upgrade the exercises. About North Korean threats.
North Korea has long condemned the allies’ joint military exercises as attack rehearsals and often countered with missile exercises of its own, including short-range launches in 2016 and 2017, which were carried out by South Korea in Japan. Simulate nuclear attacks on ports and US military facilities.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said hours after the North Korean launch, Japan and the United States conducted a joint ballistic missile exercise aimed at showing their “rapid response capability” and “determination” to counter threats.
The United States has vowed to push for additional international sanctions if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, but with permanent members of the UN Security Council divided, the prospects for meaningful new punitive measures remain slim.
Russia and China on May 25 vetoed a US-sponsored resolution imposing additional sanctions on North Korea over its latest ballistic tests, insisting that Washington should focus on reviving talks with Pyongyang.
Those talks have been stalled since 2019 over disagreements in exchange for the release of US-led sanctions for the North’s disarmament steps.
Despite facing tough challenges at home, including a crashing economy and a COVID-19 outbreak, Kim has shown no desire to completely surrender what Arsenal sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival.
Experts say his government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s proposals for open-ended talks and clearly intends to turn passive denuclearization talks into a process of mutual arms reduction.