North Korea fires a new missile and multiplies maneuvers on the southern border

North Korea fires a new missile and multiplies maneuvers on the southern border

New ballistic missile test, passages of fighter planes, multiple artillery barrages at sea: Pyongyang took part in demonstrations of military force near the border with South Korea on Thursday and Friday and claimed to be responding to “provocations” from Seoul. North Korea has stepped up weapons tests in recent weeks, described as simulated “tactical nuclear strikes” against targets in South Korea. Seoul and Washington also expect that Pyongyang, which feels threatened by American, South Korean and Japanese military maneuvers in the region, will soon resume its nuclear tests.

A ballistic missile fired in response to a South Korean artillery drill

According to the official North Korean agency KCNA, a ballistic missile was fired towards the sea from Thursday to Friday in response to an artillery exercise by South Korea. A North Korean army spokesman, quoted in a statement, accused the South Korean army of conducting artillery barrages near the border for “about ten hours” on Thursday. The North Korean army “took strong military countermeasures” in response to this “provocative action,” the KCNA statement added.

Pyongyang has “issued a stern warning to the South Korean military that its reckless actions are fueling military tensions in the frontline,” the statement said. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missile was fired from the Sunan area of ​​Pyongyang in the early hours of Friday.

Between 11:30 p.m. Thursday and 00:20 a.m. Friday local time, just before the last missile was fired, ten North Korean fighter jets flew over an area 25 kilometers from the border with South Korea on Thursday, which in turn sent counter-aircraft, according to the South Korean cited by Yonhap general staff. The North Korean planes crossed a “reconnaissance line,” prompting an automatic response from the South, according to the same source. Seoul has launched fighter jets, including F-35As. This is the second major deployment of fighter jets in a week.

170 artillery barrages in North Korean waters

North Korea then launched 170 artillery barrages into its waters on its east and west coasts, violating a “buffer zone” established during a 2018 deal with the south to prevent incidents at sea, according to the South Korean general staff. “We urge you to stop immediately,” a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned.

But on Friday night, South Korea’s military announced that the north had fired 80 additional artillery shells on its east and west coasts, which also fell in the “buffer zone.” “The North seems to have taken the South’s recent artillery test very seriously,” Hong Min of the Korea Institute for National Unification told AFP. According to this analyst, the maritime “buffer zone” shooting looks like “an attempt to test Seoul’s response.”

Two long-range strategic cruise missiles were fired by North Korea on Wednesday. Leader Kim Jong Un, who witnessed the shooting, expressed “great satisfaction” at the readiness of the country’s nuclear combat troops, according to KCNA.

These shots “endanger peace in the region,” the United States says

The United States has condemned the recent launch of ballistic missiles. “This launch, along with others over the past month, violates several United Nations Security Council resolutions” and “threatens the peace and stability of the region,” a State Department spokesman said. He complained that North Korea “refuses to respond to US offers of dialogue.”

Earlier this week, Kim Jong Un dismissed the idea of ​​resuming talks on his banned weapons programs, saying North Korea “saw no need to do so”. For its part, South Korea’s National Security Council condemned the “hostile actions” overnight and warned that “such provocations will have consequences”. Seoul also on Friday imposed its first unilateral sanctions in five years targeting North Korean individuals and institutions.

Rising tensions

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have been increasing since the beginning of the year. South Korea and the United States have stepped up joint military exercises in response to the Pyongyang weapons tests. But North Korea sees these maneuvers as a dress rehearsal for an invasion of its territory and has responded with new rounds of missile tests.

Last month, North Korea also declared that its nuclear status was “irreversible,” effectively closing the door on any disarmament negotiations, and announced that it had the authority to launch pre-emptive strikes if threatened. Both Seoul and Washington have been warning for months of the danger of Pyongyang conducting a nuclear test that would be the seventh in its history and the first since 2017.


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