Posted: Post Date – 11:45 PM, Sat – Nov 5th 22
Seoul: North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea on Saturday, adding to its latest weapons demonstrations, while the United States sent two supersonic bombers to a duel of military might over South Korea, underscoring growing tensions in the region.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said four short-range missiles were fired from North Korea’s western coast around noon and flew about 130 kilometers (80 miles) into the waters off the country’s western coast.
North Korea this week tested more than 30 missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile that triggered an evacuation alert in northern Japan on Thursday, and flew a large number of warplanes over its territory in anger over a massive joint air exercise between the United States reaction. United States and South Korea.
South Korea’s military said two B-1B bombers trained alongside four U.S. F-16 fighter jets and four South Korean F-35 jets on the final day of the “Vigilance Storm” joint air force exercise that ended Saturday. This marks the first deployment of bombers to the Korean peninsula since December 2017. The exercise involved about 240 fighter jets, including advanced F-35 fighter jets from both countries.
North Korea’s foreign ministry said late Friday that the country’s military action this week was an appropriate response to the drills, calling it a manifestation of “military confrontation hysteria” by the United States. The statement said North Korea would make “the harshest response” to any attempt by “hostile forces” to violate its sovereignty or security interests.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the B-1B’s participation in the joint exercise demonstrated the allies’ readiness to “severely respond” to North Korea’s provocation and the United States’ commitment to defend its allies with its full range of military capabilities, including nuclear.
The B-1B overpass has been a familiar display of force during past tensions with North Korea, including its provocative nuclear and long-range missile tests in 2017. But in recent years, with the United States and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Korea has halted large-scale exercises in support of the former Trump administration’s diplomatic efforts with North Korea.
The allies resumed mass training this year after North Korea ramped up weapons testing to a record pace, using the U.N. Security Council’s disagreement over Russia’s war with Ukraine as a window to accelerate weapons development.
North Korea hates this close display of U.S. military power. North Korea continues to describe the B-1B as a “nuclear strategic bomber” despite the aircraft’s conversion to conventional weapons in the mid-1990s.
The watchful storm was due to end on Friday, but the allies decided to extend training until Saturday in response to a series of North Korean ballistic launches on Thursday, including an ICBM that triggered an evacuation alert and stopped trains in northern Japan.
Thursday’s launch came after North Korea fired more than 20 missiles on Wednesday, the most in a day. The launches follow a veiled threat by senior North Korean military official Park Jung-cheon to engage in nuclear conflict with the United States and South Korea over joint exercises that North Korea says are a rehearsal for a potential invasion.
South Korea also scrambled about 80 military aircraft on Friday after tracking about 180 flights of North Korean warplanes inside North Korean soil. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korean warplanes were spotted in various areas inland and on the country’s east and west coasts, but not particularly close to the North Korean border. The South Korean military spotted about 180 flight trajectories from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but it is unclear how many North Korean planes were involved and whether some flew more than once.
In a statement on Friday, North Korea’s foreign ministry said U.S. and South Korean military exercises had created a serious “atmosphere of instability” in the region. It accused the United States of mobilizing its allies in a campaign that used sanctions and military threats to pressure North Korea to unilaterally disarm.
“Continued provocations are bound to be accompanied by continued counterattacks,” the statement said.
North Korea has launched dozens of ballistic missiles this year, including multiple intercontinental missiles and an intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan. There are signs that North Korea could detonate its first nuclear test device since 2017 in the coming weeks, South Korean officials said.
Experts say North Korea is trying to force the United States to accept it as a nuclear power and is trying to negotiate economic and security concessions from a position of strength.