South Korea and the United States fired four missiles after North Korea’s launch

Seoul | South Korea and the United States fired several missiles at naval targets on Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile that passed over Japan.

A North Korean medium-range ballistic missile (IRBM) flew over Japan on Tuesday, the first in five years that prompted Tokyo to activate its warning system.

According to South Korea’s General Staff, the South Korean and US militaries on Wednesday launched two ATACMS short-range ballistic missiles to “accurately strike a hypothetical target” in the Sea of ​​Japan.

He added in a press statement that these exercises “showed that we are capable and ready to neutralize the source of the provocation while maintaining an attitude of constant monitoring.”

However, the South Korean military confirmed the failed launch of a Hyunmoo-2 short-range ballistic missile, which crashed to the ground shortly after launch.

The missile’s warhead did not explode and no one was hurt, according to the crew. Authorities said a large fire broke out and caused panic in the town of Gangneung on South Korea’s east coast, with many anxious residents calling city hall.

On Tuesday, South Korean and US fighter jets already conducted precision attack drills, according to Seoul, with bombs dropped on a hypothetical target in the Yellow Sea by two South Korean F-15K fighter jets.

In an interview with CNN, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby noted that the issue is “to respond to provocations from the North, to ensure that we are able to demonstrate our own capabilities.”

Unconditional negotiations

“You don’t have to go that far. We have made it clear to Kim Jong-un that we are ready to sit at the table without preconditions.”

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The South Korean military also announced, on Wednesday, the return to the region of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which conducted exercises with the South Korean Navy in September.

North Korea, which in September adopted a new doctrine making its nuclear power status “irreversible,” this year escalated its launch and launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) for the first time since 2017.

Tuesday’s shooting was the fifth in ten days. Pyongyang has not commented on the matter in the official media.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to meet on Wednesday on the issue.

According to Seoul and Tokyo, the missile traveled about 4,600 km, possibly the longest distance Pyongyang has reached in its tests. Missiles are usually launched in an elevated trajectory to avoid flying over neighboring countries.

According to experts and senior officials, the missile is a Hwasong-12 IRBM with a nuclear capability. It was first tested in 2017 and is capable of reaching US bases on the island of Guam.

“escalation”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denounced the “escalation” and called on Pyongyang to “resume dialogue” for the “complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

For his part, South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol denounced the “provocation” that “clearly violates universal principles and United Nations norms,” ​​and ordered a “firm response.”

Seoul, Tokyo and Washington have recently increased joint exercises, organizing the first tripartite anti-submarine exercises in five years on September 30, just days after large-scale exercises by the US and South Korean navies.

About 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea to help protect it from its neighbour.

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South Korean and US officials have warned for months that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is preparing to conduct another nuclear test.

This could happen after the Chinese Communist Party congress that begins on October 16, as several senior officials in the US Asia-Pacific Command indicated this weekend.

“Despite the launch of a missile today (…), North Korea’s intention to conduct a nuclear test will remain the same,” Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the institute told AFP.

“Pyongyang is likely to mock today’s missile launch – especially after one of the launches failed,” he added, referring to the South Korean and US launches on Wednesday.

Pyongyang has tested atomic bombs six times since 2006. The most recent and most powerful test came in 2017, with an estimated yield of 250 kilotons.

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