- The North Korean military says several missiles have been launched into the sea
- One of them landed south of the disputed inter-Korean naval border
- The president of S. Korea promised that North Korea will “pay the price”
- North Korea called joint military exercises “provocative”.
SEOUL, Nov 2 (Reuters) – North Korea fired at least 17 missiles into the sea on Wednesday, including one that landed less than 60 kilometers (40 miles) off the coast of South Korea, which the South’s President Yoon Suk-yeol said described it as “territorial”. aggression”.
It was the first time a ballistic missile had landed in southern waters since the partition of the peninsula in 1945, and the most missiles launched by the North in a single day. South Korea warned of rare airstrikes and fired missiles in response.
The missile landed outside South Korea’s territorial waters but south of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the disputed inter-Korean maritime border.
South Korean warplanes responded by firing three air-to-surface missiles into the North Sea via the NLL, the South’s military said. The weapons used include the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, a US-made precision strike weapon that can fly up to 270 km (170 miles) with a 360 kg (800-). lb) warhead.
The South’s launches came after Yoon’s office vowed a “swift and decisive response”.
A senior official from Yun’s office told reporters: “Today’s provocation by North Korea was an effective act of territorial aggression by a missile against the NLL, the first time since the division of the two Koreas.”
Asked if the missile was flying towards the southern territory and should have been intercepted, the official said: “Strictly, it landed not in our territory but in the exclusive economic zone under our jurisdiction, so was not subject to arrest. “
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the missile was one of three short-range ballistic missiles launched from North Korea’s coastal area of Wonsan. The JCS later said 14 more missiles of various types were fired from North Korea’s east and west coasts.
At least one of the missiles landed 26 kilometers south of the NLL, 57 kilometers from the city of Sokcho on South Korea’s east coast and 167 kilometers from Ulleng Island, where air raid warnings were sounded, the JCS said.
“We heard a siren at around 8:55 a.m. and all of us in the building went down to the evacuation site in the basement,” an official from Ulleung province told Reuters. “We stayed there until 9:15 when we got upstairs after hearing the news that a shell had landed in the high seas.”
A resident of the southern part of the island said they had not received any warning.
The North also fired more than 100 artillery shells from its east coast into a military buffer zone established under a military agreement with South Korea, South Korea’s military said.
LLC said the shooting violates the 2018 agreement.
North and South Korea are still technically at war, as their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Nuclear-armed North Korea has conducted a record number of missile tests this year, and officials in Seoul and Washington say the North is technically ready to conduct a nuclear test for the first time since 2017.
The launch came just hours after Pyongyang demanded that the United States and South Korea halt large-scale military exercises, saying such “military haste and provocation will no longer be tolerated.”
The United States and South Korea began one of their largest joint air drills on Monday, despite Yoon declaring a week of national mourning after more than 150 people were killed in a weekend stampede in Seoul. Called Vigilance Storm, the exercises involve hundreds of warplanes from both sides conducting mock attacks 24 hours a day. more
BASIC MILITARY EXERCISES
North Korea, which has pursued missile and nuclear programs in defiance of United Nations sanctions for years, has said the latest series of launches is in response to joint exercises.
Park Jong-chon, secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, said in a statement on Wednesday that the number of warplanes participating in the “Vigilance Storm” proved that the exercise was “aggressive and provocative” and specifically targeted North Korea. . According to him, even its name imitates the US-led operation “Desert Storm” against Iraq in the 1990s.
In a statement carried by the state-run KCNA news agency, Park said: “The massive movements of enemy forces have created a serious situation for military resistance on the Korean Peninsula.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price said in Washington on Tuesday that the exercises were “very defensive in nature” and that the United States had made clear to North Korea that it had no hostile intentions.
The United States and its allies have also made clear that if North Korea resumes nuclear tests, there will be “profound costs and profound consequences,” which would be a “dangerous and destabilizing step,” Price added. He did not elaborate.
In a phone call with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin called North Korea’s missile launch “unprecedented” and “a serious act of military provocation.” In a statement, Park’s office said the two officials condemned the missile launch and agreed to cooperate against North Korean threats.
“NEW ROADS” OF ROCKET OPERATION
South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said some air routes over the sea between North Korea and Japan will be closed until Thursday due to the flights.
“Our military can never tolerate this kind of provocation by North Korea and will respond decisively and decisively within the framework of close cooperation between South Korea and the US,” the JCS said in a statement.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the government believes at least two ballistic missiles were launched from North Korea, one to the east and the other to the southeast.
The first plane flew 150 kilometers to a maximum altitude of about 150 kilometers, while the second flew 200 kilometers to a maximum altitude of 100 kilometers, he told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.
North Korea’s actions threaten the peace and stability of Japan, the region as well as the wider international community, Hamada said.
Reporting by Su-hyang Choi, Choonsik Yu and Josh Smith; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington and Sakura Murakami in Tokyo; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Gerry Doyle, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Nick McPhee
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