South Korea and the United States fired eight surface-to-surface missiles early Monday off South Korea’s east coast, after North Korea launched a barrage of short-range ballistic missiles on Sunday, a UN official said. South Korean Defense Ministry. The joint military drills are a demonstration of “the ability and readiness to carry out a precision attack” against the source of North Korea’s missile launches or command and support centers.South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted the South Korean military as saying.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office last month, has vowed to take a tougher line against the North and agreed with US President Joe Biden at a May summit in Seoul to enhance joint military exercises and their combined deterrent posture.
The South Korean and US militaries fired eight surface-to-surface missiles over a period of about 10 minutes beginning at 4:45 a.m. Monday (1945 GMT Sunday) in response to eight missiles fired by the North on Sunday, Yonhap reported.
A South Korean Defense Ministry official confirmed that eight Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) had been fired.
Earlier, The president of South Korea had given the reinforcement of the combined defense policy of South Korea and the United States after the last ballistic test carried out this Sunday by Pyongyang.
Yesterday was the first time that North Korea launched eight missiles in a row, and South Korean authorities suspect it could be a reaction to a joint exercise by South Korea and the United States. that they had been operating the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier ‘Ronald Reagan’ near Okinawa, Japan, as reported by the aforementioned agency.
On the other hand, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has given instructions to “devote maximum effort to the collection and analysis of information”to notify the population, guarantee the safety of maritime and air routes, as well as undertake all possible measures in case of emergency.
The North Korean launch was the 18th round of missile tests so far in 2022. – a streak that has included the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missile demonstrations in nearly five years – while continuing to take advantage of a favorable environment to push weapons development with the UN Security Council divided over Russia‘s war against Ukraine.
Experts say North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s moves are aimed at forcing the United States to accept the idea of the North being a nuclear power. and negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength.
South Korean and US officials say there are signs that North Korea is also making progress with preparations for its nuclear test range in the northeastern city of Punggye-ri. The North’s next nuclear test would be its seventh since 2006 and its first since September 2017, when it claimed to have detonated a thermonuclear bomb to fit its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Last Friday, US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, said that Washington is “preparing for all contingencies” in close coordination with its Asian allies, by participating in a trilateral meeting in Seoul with its South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the nuclear standoff with North Korea.
“We are prepared to make short- and long-term adjustments in our military posture as appropriate and responding to any provocation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea’s official name),” Kim explained at a press conference after meeting in Seoul with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Kim Gunn and Takehiro Funakoshi.
Kim insisted, in statements collected by the Yonhap agency, that the Pentagon will carry out the necessary actions to respond to Pyongyang in order to “strengthen both defense and deterrence to protect our allies in the region.”
Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled since 2019 over disagreements in trading off the crippling US-led sanctions against North Korea and the North’s disarmament steps.
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