Seoul’s retaliation explodes after North Korea’s missile success


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A malfunctioning South Korean ballistic missile exploded when it struck the ground on Wednesday during a live-fire exercise with the United States in retaliation for North Korea’s ballistic missile. successful launch The day before the weapon had the range to fly over Japan and hit the US territory of Guam.

The explosion and ensuing fire panicked and confused residents of the coastal city of Gangneung, already unnerved by increasingly provocative weapons tests by rival North Korea. Their concern that it could be a North Korean attack only grew.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said no injuries were reported from the blast, including a short-range Hyumoo-2 missile that crashed inside an air force base on the outskirts of the city.

Ruling party lawmaker Kwon Sung-dong, who represents Gangneung, wrote on Facebook that “a weapons system run by bloody taxpayer money ended up threatening its own people,” urging the military to fail the missile. asked for a thorough investigation. He also criticized the military for not issuing notice of the failure while maintaining a media embargo on joint exercises.

“It was an irresponsible response,” Kwon said. “They don’t even have an official press release yet.”

South Korea’s military acknowledged the malfunction hours after internet users warned of the explosion and posted a social media video showing an orange ball of flame emerging from an area they described as near an air force base. It said it was investigating the cause of the “abnormal flight”.

Gangneung fire department and city hall officials said emergency workers were dispatched to the air force base and a nearby army base in response to calls about a possible explosion, but were sent back by military personnel.

US and South Korean forces are conducting joint exercises to demonstrate their ability to deter North Korea from attacking South Korea. During Tuesday’s drill, they carried out bombings with his F-15 Strike jets using precision munitions, firing two of his missiles, each part of the Army’s Tactical Missile System.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan will return to waters east of South Korea on Wednesday to demonstrate the allies’ “firm will” to counter North Korea’s continued provocations and threats. said. The carrier was part of last week’s drills with South Korea and Japan.

The homegrown Hyumoo-2 is key to South Korea’s preemptive and retaliation strategy against North Korea. Some versions of the missile resemble the Russian-designed Iskandar missile, which is part of North Korea’s arsenal.

North Korea’s successful launch of a nuclear ballistic missile hours before the exercise was the country’s most provocative weapons demonstration since 2017 and its fifth weapons test in 10 days.

The missile has the range to hit Guam, one of the largest military installations the US maintains in Asia. In 2017, North Korea also tested a missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

North Korea has launched nearly 40 ballistic missiles in about 20 different launch events this year. It used Russia’s war on Ukraine and the resulting deep division in the UN Security Council to accelerate weapons development without risking further sanctions.

The goal is to gain recognition as a nuclear power and deprive them of concessions, while developing a full-fledged nuclear weapon capable of threatening the homeland of the United States and its allies.

The US, UK, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland have called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the latest launch by North Korea. A public meeting was scheduled for Wednesday at 3:00 pm.

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