US, South Korea fire 8 missiles in response to North Korea

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US, South Korea fire 8 missiles in response to North Korea

The US and South Korean militaries launched eight missiles into the sea Monday in a tit-for-tat response to an earlier demonstration by North Korea.

US Forces Korea confirmed in a statement that one American missile and seven South Korean missiles were launched into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, following “appropriate notifications for air and maritime safety.”

The missile firings came one day after South Korea’s military detected that the North had launched eight short-range missiles over the course of 35 minutes from four different locations across the country – marking North Korea’s 18th round of missile testing so far this year.

An ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile, is fired during a joint military training between U.S. and South Korea at an unidentified location in South Korea, June 6, 2022.
An ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile, is fired during a joint military training between the US and South Korea at an unidentified location in South Korea, June 6, 2022.
The Defense Ministry/Yonhap via REUTERS

US and South Korean officials have become increasingly concerned that the North is preparing to conduct a nuclear test – its first since 2017. 

In May, President Biden and South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol promised the two countries would consider expanding military exercises to deter Pyongyang’s nuclear threat. Two weeks later, the two nations held joint military drills involving a US aircraft carrier

The drills – which took place Thursday through Saturday – included air defense and maritime-interception operations in international waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa. 

South Korea's Defense Ministry, U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, second from left, and South Korea's landing platform helicopter (LPH) ship Marado, left, sail during a joint military exercise at an undisclosed location, Saturday, June 4, 2022.
US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and South Korea’s landing platform helicopter (LPH) ship Marado sail during a joint military exercise at an undisclosed location, Saturday, June 4, 2022.
South Korea Defense Ministry via AP

“The exercise consolidated the two countries’ determination to sternly respond to any North Korean provocations, while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to provide extended deterrence,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

During a speech marking South Korea’s Memorial Day on Monday, Yoon said his government would pursue “fundamental and practical security capabilities” to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons and missile threat.

An ATACMS, a surface-to-surface missile, is fired during a joint military training between U.S. and South Korea at an unidentified location in South Korea, June 6, 2022
US and South Korean officials have become increasingly concerned that the North is preparing to conduct a nuclear test.
The Defense Ministry/Yonhap via REUTERS

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs have grown to a point where they are not only a threat to the Korean Peninsula, but to Northeast Asia and world peace,” Yoon said at the National Cemetery in Seoul, saying his government would “sternly respond to any kind of North Korean provocation.”

The Biden administration has frequently reiterated its commitment to defending South Korea if the North amps up its provocations or ultimately attacks. 

On May 18, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup about the importance of “close cooperation” between the two nations. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, watches a military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of North Korea's army at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 25, 2022.
North Korea had launched eight short-range missiles over the course of 35 minutes from four different locations across the country.
Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol speaks during a ceremony marking Korean Memorial Day at the Seoul National cemetery on June 06, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.
In May, President Biden and South Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol promised the two countries would consider expanding military exercises to deter Pyongyang’s nuclear threat.
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

They shared “the assessment that the situation inside and outside of the region, including the Korean peninsula, is grave,” South Korea’s ministry of national defense said following the call. 

Monday’s exercises were not the first show of force between the US and South Korea in response to North Korea’s missile launches. On May 25, the two nations conducted a similar live-fire exercise, which South Korea’s military said involved an ICBM flown on medium-range trajectory and two short-range weapons. 

North Korea had yet to comment on its Sunday launches.

With Post wires

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