- Several missiles were launched into the sea, according to the South Korean military
- One landed south of the disputed Korean Sea border
- South Korean president vows North Korea will ‘pay the price’
- The military exercises of North Korea’s allies are called provocative
North Korea fired at least 23 missiles into the sea on Wednesday, including one that landed less than 60 km (40 miles) from the South Korean coast in what South Korean President Yong Suk-yeol described as “territorial”. Interference”.
It was the first time a ballistic missile had landed near the South’s waters since the partition of the peninsula in 1945, and most missiles fired by the North within a day. South Korea issued rare airstrike warnings and launched its own missiles.
The missile landed outside South Korea’s territorial waters but south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), a disputed inter-Korean maritime boundary.
South Korean warplanes fired three air-to-surface missiles into the sea to the north over the NLL in response to the South Korean military. The official said the weapons used included the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, a US-made precision strike weapon that can fly up to 270 km (170 miles) with 360 kg (800). -lb) warhead.
South’s launch came after Yoon’s office promised a “swift and firm response.”
“President Yong Suk-yol noted that North Korea’s provocation today was an effective territorial intervention with a missile that invaded the NLL for the first time since the (two Koreas) split,” his office said in a statement.
When asked if the missile flew into the South’s territory and should have been intercepted, a senior presidential official said: “Strictly speaking, it did not land in our territory, but in the exclusive economic zone under our jurisdiction, so it is not subject to interception.”
AIR RAID SIRENS
The missile was one of three short-range ballistic missiles fired from North Korea’s coast into the Wonsan Sea, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The JCS later said 14 other missiles of various types were fired from North Korea’s east and west coasts.
The JCS said at least one of the missiles landed 26 kilometers south of the NLL, 57 kilometers from the South Korean city of Sokcho on the east coast and 167 kilometers from Ulleung Island, where the airstrike warnings were issued.
“We heard the siren at around 8:55 a.m. and everyone in the building went to the evacuation site in the basement,” an Ulen County official told Reuters. “We stayed there until we came up at about 9:15 a.m. when we heard the shell hit the open sea.”
North Korea also fired more than 100 rounds of artillery from its east coast into a military buffer zone established by a military treaty with South Korea, the South’s military said.
The firing violates a 2018 agreement banning hostile acts in border areas, the JCS said.
North and South Korea are technically still at war, as their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Nuclear-armed North Korea has tested a record number of missiles this year, and officials in Seoul and Washington say North Korea has completed technical preparations to conduct a nuclear test for the first time since 2017.
The launches came just hours after Pyongyang demanded that the US and South Korea halt large-scale military exercises, saying such “military surprises and provocations can no longer be tolerated”.
Despite Yun declaring a week of national mourning after more than 150 people were killed in Seoul over the weekend, the US and South Korea began one of their largest joint military air exercises on Monday. The exercises, dubbed vigilance, involve hundreds of warplanes from both sides conducting mock drills 24 hours a day. read more
MAJOR MILITARY EXERCISES
North Korea, which has pursued missile and nuclear programs for years despite UN sanctions, had said a series of recent launches was in response to exercises by allies.
Park Jong-chong, secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a statement Wednesday that the number of warplanes involved in “Vigilant Storm” proved the exercise was “aggressive and provocative” and specifically aimed at North Korea. He said even its name mimicked the US-led Operation Desert Storm against Iraq in the 1990s.
“The hostile forces’ abnormal steps for military confrontation have created a serious situation on the Korean Peninsula,” the agency said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.
In Washington on Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the exercises were “purely defensive in nature” and that the US had made clear to North Korea that it had no hostile intent.
Price added that the US and its allies have also made clear that there will be “profound costs and profound consequences” if North Korea resumes nuclear tests. He did not elaborate.
Launching missiles in “NEW WAYS”
South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said the launch would close some air routes over the sea between North Korea and Japan until Thursday.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the government believed at least two ballistic missiles had been launched from North Korea, one to the east and the other to the southeast.
The first flew 150 km to a maximum altitude of about 150 km, while the second covered a range of 200 km to a maximum altitude of 100 km, he told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.
North Korea’s actions threaten peace and stability in Japan, the wider region, and the wider international community, Hamada said.
Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi, Choonsik Yoo and Josh Smith; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington and Sakura Murakami in Tokyo; Edited by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Nick McPhee and Alex Richardson
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