Seoul Fires Missiles in Response to North Korea Launches

Tensions between North and South Korea intensified this week after the two countries fired missiles into waters near each other’s shores.

On Wednesday, North Korea launched at least 23 missiles, the most in a single day, with one landing less than 60 km from the South Korean city of Sokcho.

Planes flying in from South Korea fired three air-to-ground missiles at the disputed sea border between the two countries in response. Pyongyang then launched six more missiles and at least 100 artillery shells.

According to North Korea, the missile launches respond to the “aggressive and provocative” large-scale military exercises that its neighbor has carried out with the United States.

Actions by the two nations began Wednesday after North Korea launched missiles into waters near South Korea. Air raid sirens on Ulleung, a Seoul-controlled island, sounded, warning residents to evacuate to underground shelters.

A ballistic missile that crossed the Northern Limit Line (NLL) landed outside South Korea’s territorial waters, the closest a North Korean missile has ever been to the country.

Seoul was quick to weigh in on the matter, describing the missile launch as an unacceptable violation of its territory. South Korean officials later said the country’s military had fired air-to-ground missiles that landed a similar distance just beyond the disputed sea border off the north coast.

South Korea said the missile that landed beyond the NLL was one of at least ten launched in east and west directions on Wednesday morning, but the number was later revised to 23.

A day before firing the missiles, Pyongyang threatened Soth Korea and the US, saying they would pay “the most horrible price in history” if they did not stop their joint military exercises.

Missile launches by the two allies have been seen as a veiled threat to use nuclear weapons.

However, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry Park Jin and his US counterpart Antony Blinken condemned North Korea’s staggered launch of ballistic missiles.

According to international media reports, the country launched a record number of missiles this year amid an escalation of hostilities between the two neighbors.

North Korea was sanctioned by the United States government for its missile program. However, Pyongyang conducted at least six nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017.

Rumors of a seventh nuclear test have spread recently. Moreover, Pyongyang has continued to advance its military capacity to threaten neighboring countries and even put the US within potential attack range, violating the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.