– North Korean barrage in maritime zone to “deter”
North Korea fired barrages into a maritime “deterrence” zone overnight from Thursday into Friday, which Seoul said was part of an escalation of fire from Pyongyang.
Seoul and Washington extended their joint air drills until Saturday, the largest ever, involving hundreds of warplanes from both sides.
Pyongyang said the decision to extend the air drills was a “very dangerous and wrong choice” and launched three short-range ballistic missiles late Thursday.
After the announcement, as of 11:28 p.m. local time on Thursday, Seoul’s military detected about 80 artillery strikes from the north in the maritime “deterrence zone” off the Kumkang region of Gangwon Province on the country’s east coast. . South Korean civil servants said the barrage was a “clear violation” of the 2018 inter-Korean accord that established buffer zones to reduce tensions between the two sides.
The US condemned the “illegal and destabilizing firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile”, while Seoul and Washington vowed to take new measures to demonstrate their “resoluteness and their capability” in the face of growing threats from the North.
Pyongyang launched about 30 missiles on Wednesday and Thursday, including one that went near the South’s territorial waters, the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called it a “de facto territorial invasion.”
Pyongyang’s show of force comes at a time when South Korea and the US are conducting their largest-ever air drills in the region.
The exercise, dubbed “Vigilante Storm,” is “an aggressive and provocative military maneuver targeting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the North Korean regime condemned on Wednesday, threatening Seoul and Washington to pay “the heaviest price in history.”
Officials and analysts have been warning for months that North Korea is about to conduct its seventh nuclear test.
In addition to the “Vigilante Storm” exercise scheduled until Saturday, the South Korean military announced its annual “Taegeuk” exercise next week aimed at “improving wartime effectiveness” and crisis management. It was a computer-simulated exercise conducted to develop “the ability to conduct practical tasks in anticipation of various threats such as nuclear weapons, missiles and recent provocations by North Korea.” South Korean.