South Korea, US Fire Missiles in Response to North Korea’s Tests

South Korea and the United States launched eight test missiles on Monday, responding to North Korea’s weapons tests the day before.

North Korea fired a barrage of ballistic missiles from its east coast on Sunday. The two allies’ forces launched eight surface-to-surface Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) within a 10-minute period starting at 4:45 a.m from South Korea’s northeastern Gangwon province.

According to the US military, they fired one US missile and seven South Korean missiles into the sea to demonstrate the countries’ capacity to react promptly to crisis events.

The missile firing came as Pyongyang has stepped up its weapons tests in an unprecedented strategy in line with leader Kim Jong Un’s five-year plan to evade existing missile defense systems. In recent months and despite strict UN sanctions, the isolated communist state has tested dozens of missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time in five years.

Speaking at a war memorial event in Seoul, South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol said that his forces would respond harshly to any provocation by his northern neighbor.

North Korean missiles “are reaching the level of threatening not only peace on the Korean Peninsula but also in Northeast Asia and the world,” he added.

Also, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “The South Korea-U.S. combined firing of the ground-to-ground missiles demonstrated the capability and posture to launch immediate precision strikes on the origins of provocations, even if North Korea launches missiles from various locations.”

Mr. Suk-yeol stated that his government would ensure that there is not a single crack in protecting South Koreans’ life and property.

Analysts say the move intends to show South Korea’s strength in alliance with the United States. It was the 18th missile launch so far this year and the second retaliation display by the US and South Korea.

Last week, North Korea fired a round of missiles shortly after US President Joe Biden visited the region. The United States and South Korea responded with a similar move.