After North Korea responded to a US and South Korean military exercise with eight missiles, they sent the same number of missiles towards the open sea. According to the South Korean army, this should demonstrate "the ability and determination for immediate precision strikes".
In direct response to a series of missile launches by the North Korean military, South Korea and the United States have fired short-range ballistic missiles toward the open sea. The eight projectiles were fired within ten minutes from 4.45 a.m. (local time) in the early morning and finally fell into the Sea of Japan (Korean: East Sea), as the general staff in Seoul announced, according to a report by the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The day before, North Korea had responded to a joint naval maneuver by the USA and South Korea with just as many launches of short-range ballistic missiles, which the authoritarian state is forbidden by UN resolutions. These missiles also ultimately landed in the sea.
According to the South Korean military, by reacting to the missile launches ordered by Pyongyang, the allies wanted to demonstrate "the ability and determination for immediate precision strikes" against targets in North Korea.
The general staff in Seoul accused the other side of targeted provocations and called emphatically to "refrain from any actions that aggravate military tensions on the Korean peninsula and security concerns". UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on the design, can also carry one or more nuclear warheads. Ballistic missiles are usually surface-to-surface missiles.
The USA and South Korea fear that North Korea could also carry out a new nuclear test at any time. According to experts, North Korea wants to modernize its missile arsenal and possibly also increase pressure on the United States to submit concrete negotiation proposals. Talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program have been deadlocked for more than three years.
Pyongyang has fired a rocket every ninth day on average this year, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said, according to his office. Yoon called for strengthening joint defense capabilities with the United States. North Korea, on the other hand, has repeatedly protested against the joint maneuvers by the USA and South Korea, describing them as rehearsals for an invasion.
(This article was first published on Monday 06 June 2022.)