North Korea continued show of force by launching ballistic missile across sea border, Seoul says
North Korea on Wednesday fired about 100 artillery shells and six other missiles into the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, known to Koreans as the East Sea, Seoul’s military said.
The statement came hours after South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) announced that the North had launched at least 17 ballistic and other missiles, one of which crossed the so-called line Northern Limit (NLL), the de facto sea boundary, for the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The JCS described the move as “very rare and intolerable.”
According to the JCS, the shells were launched from the northern province of Kangwon, which borders South Korea. The JCS said Pyongyang began its missile barrage around 6:50 a.m. local time, launching four short-range ballistic missiles into the Yellow Sea from the northeastern province of Pyongan, and two hours later fired them. three more from or around the eastern town of Wonsan.
In response to the launches, South Korean F-15K and KF-16 fighter jets fired three air-to-surface missiles into the sea through the NLL.
“The response of our military reaffirms our determination to respond firmly to any provocation and shows that we are capable of striking our enemy with precision,” he added. the JCS said, adding that the missiles from the South had traveled a distance equivalent to those fired from the North.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said the launch beyond the NLL is “a real invasion” of the country’s territory and that the actions of the North will not harm Seoul’s alliance with the United States, according to his office.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that Pyongyang fired at least two ballistic missiles, but they fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the launches as “Absolutely unacceptable.”
The apparent show of force came as the United States and South Korea conducted the annual week-long ‘Vigilant Storm’ exercise, in which around 240 warplanes fly around 1,600 sorties, the most in the history of the exercise, according to US Pacific Air. Forces.
A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday denounced the exercise as an escalation and warned against “more powerful tracking measures.”
Pyongyang has said in the past that it views joint US-South Korean drills as a threat to its security. Pak Jong-chon, a senior member of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, said Washington and Seoul “paying the most horrible price in history” if they use force against the North.
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