North Korea fires missiles and artillery, flies fighter jets near border, fuels further tensions


SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—North Korea fired additional ballistic missiles and 170 shells into the sea early Friday morning, flying fighter jets near its tense border with South Korea, a concentration of North Korea’s latest weapons tests. further heightened the hostility caused by the artillery fire.

North Korea’s move suggests it is trying to revive its old strategy of fanning the fear of war with provocative weapons tests before trying to win bigger concessions from rivals.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that a short-range missile took off from North Korea’s metropolitan area at 1:49 a.m. Friday (1649 GMT Thursday; 12:49 p.m. Thursday) and landed in the eastern sea. He said he flew in.

This was the 15th missile launch since North Korea resumed testing activities on Sept. 25. Carrier.

After the latest missile test, North Korea has fired 130 shells on the west coast and 40 on the east coast. The artillery shells fell within the maritime buffer zone established by the two sides under the 2018 inter-Korean agreement to ease tensions, the South Korean military said, violating the agreement.

North Korea flew an estimated 10 fighter jets separately late Thursday and early Friday near the rival country’s border, prompting South Korea to scramble its fighter jets. There were no reports of clashes between the two countries.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said North Korea’s provocations were becoming “indiscriminate,” but that South Korea had a large-scale retaliation capability that could deter some actual North Korean attacks.

“We cannot make a decision to attack unless we are willing to risk cruel consequences,” Yoon told reporters. “The final stage of our triaxial strategy, a large-scale punishment and retaliation strategy, will be of considerable psychological and social deterrence. [for the North]”

Major General Kang Hopil of the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff later said in a televised statement that South Korea [North Korea] Immediately stop testing weapons. He said South Korea has the ability to respond “overwhelmingly” to any North Korean provocation.

South Korea’s foreign ministry said Friday it had imposed sanctions on 15 North Korean individuals and 16 organizations suspected of engaging in illegal activities to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. South Korea’s first unilateral sanctions against North Korea in five years, observers say, are symbolic given the lack of financial dealings with the country.

Most of North Korea’s recent weapons tests have been ballistic missile launches prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. But North Korea has not been subject to new sanctions, thanks to divisions at the United Nations over US disputes with Russia over aggression in Ukraine and disputes with China over strategic competition.

South Korea and Japan assess that the missile launched on Friday traveled 650-700 kilometers (403-434 miles) at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (30 miles) before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Did.

Defense Minister Hamada said, “Regardless of intentions, North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches are absolutely unacceptable, and we cannot afford to overlook significant advances in missile technology.”

He said the missile flew on an “irregular” trajectory. This could be a reference to explain North Korea’s highly maneuverable KN-23 weaponry, modeled after Russia’s Iskandar missile.

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the North Korean launches pose no imminent threat to U.S. personnel or territory or its allies, and that U.S. commitments to the defense of South Korea and Japan remain “irregular.” added that it is.

Other North Korean tests in recent weeks included a new intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan and showed potential range to reach Guam, the US Pacific region. Ballistic missile launched from the country’s first inland reservoir. and long-range cruise missiles.

After Wednesday’s cruise missile launch, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the test had successfully demonstrated an expansion of his military’s nuclear strike capabilities. According to North Korean state media, he said his nuclear force is fully prepared for “actual warfare to bring the enemy under control in one blow”, expanding the operational area of ​​his nuclear force. I swore that

Some observers have speculated that North Korea will continue to do so, considering its ally China, which is set to begin a major political conference on Sunday to give President Xi Jinping a third five-year term as leader of the Chinese Communist Party. We had predicted that it would likely suspend its testing activities temporarily this week.

Kim has repeatedly said he has no intention of resuming nuclear diplomacy. However, some experts say they would like to eventually be recognized internationally as a nuclear state, and would trade broad sanctions relief or other measures in exchange for partial denuclearization measures. He said he hopes to hold arms control negotiations with the United States to obtain concessions for the United States.

The urgency of North Korea’s nuclear program has increased since the country last month passed a new law authorizing the first use of nuclear weapons.

Most of North Korea’s recent tests have been short-range nuclear missiles, primarily targeting South Korea. Some analysts say North Korea’s potential nuclear test for the first time in five years could be related to its efforts to manufacture battlefield tactical warheads to be carried on such short-range missiles. ing.

These developments have raised South Korean security concerns, with some politicians and academics calling for the United States to redeploy tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea as a deterrent against the escalating North Korean nuclear threat. Newly issued.

North Korean forces accused South Korea of ​​firing near the border for about 10 hours early Friday morning and were forced to take unspecified “strong military countermeasures” in response.

The South Korean military later confirmed that it held artillery drills 10 kilometers from the South Korean Military Demarcation Line and said the drills did not violate the terms of the 2018 agreement.

Associated Press