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South Korea fires 3 test missiles in response to North launches

Air raid sirens sounded in South Korea after the North fired a dozen missiles in its direction.

The launches came hours after North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons to make the United States and South Korea “pay the most horrific price in history” as it stepped up his fiery rhetoric targeting the ongoing large-scale military exercises between his rivals.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement on Wednesday that it had detected three short-range ballistic missiles fired at the North Eastern coastal town of Wonsan. One of the missiles landed 26 kilometers (16 miles) from the rivals’ sea border.

The landing site is in international waters, but still far south of the nations border extension. South Korea’s military said it was the first time a North Korean missile had landed so close to the maritime border since the countries were divided in 1948.

In 2010, North Korea fired artillery shells at a frontline South Korean island and reportedly torpedoed a South Korean navy vessel, both off the peninsula’s west coast, killing a total of 50 people.

“This is completely unprecedented and we will never tolerate it,” the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a separate statement.

The North Korean missile landing site is also 167 kilometers (104 miles) northwest of Ulleung Island in South Korea, where an air raid warning was later issued.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have said South Korea will not tolerate North Korean provocations and will deal with them harshly in close coordination with the United States. He said South Korea has strengthened its watchdog position over North Korea.

Animosities on the Korean peninsula have been running high in recent months, with North Korea testing a series of nuclear-capable missiles and passing legislation allowing the preemptive use of its nuclear weapons in a wide range of situations. Some experts still doubt that North Korea can use nuclear weapons first against American and South Korean forces.

North Korea has argued that its recent weapons tests were intended to issue a warning to Washington and Seoul about their series of joint military exercises that it sees as a rehearsal for an invasion, including this week’s drills. involving approximately 240 combat aircraft.

In a statement released early Wednesday, Pak Jong Chon, secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party and considered a close confidant of leader Kim Jong Un, called the so-called Air Force Vigilant Storm drills “a aggressive and provocative”.

Pak also accused the Pentagon of framing a collapse of the North Korean regime as a major policy goal in an apparent reference to the Pentagon’s recently released National Defense Strategy Report. The report said any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies and partners “will bring about the end of this regime.”

He criticized South Korean military leaders for what he called “insane” comments that threatened to destroy North Korea if it used nuclear weapons.

politico Gt

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