North Korea fires 17 missiles, one landing off South Korean coast for first time

  • The army of S. Korea reported that several missiles were launched into the sea
  • One of them landed south of the disputed inter-Korean maritime border
  • The president of S. Korea promised that N. Korea will “pay the price”.
  • North Korea called the allied military exercises “provocative”.

SEOUL, Nov 2 (Reuters) – North Korea fired at least 17 missiles into the sea on Wednesday, including one that landed less than 60 km (40 miles) off South Korea’s coast, in what South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called a “regional” attack.

It was the first time a ballistic missile had landed near southern waters since the peninsula was separated in 1945, and the most missiles fired from the North in a single day. South Korea fired its own missiles in response, warning of rare air strikes.

The missile landed outside South Korea’s territorial waters but south of the disputed inter-Korean maritime boundary, the Northern Limit Line (NLL).

South Korean warplanes responded by firing three air-to-surface missiles into the northern sea via the NLL, the South’s military said. Among the weapons used, the official said, was the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, a US-made precision strike weapon with a payload of 360 kg (800-lbs) and a range of 270 km (170 mi). lb) war bag.

The South’s launch came after Yun’s office promised a “swift and firm response.”

“Today’s provocation by North Korea was an effective act of territorial attack by a missile that entered the NLL for the first time since (the two Koreas) split,” a senior official in Yun’s office told reporters.

To the question of whether the missile was flying towards the southern territory and whether it should be intercepted, the official said: “Specifically, it landed not in our territory, but in the exclusive economic zone under our jurisdiction, so it was not subject to interception. “

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The missile was one of three short-range ballistic missiles fired into the sea from North Korea’s coastal region of Wonsan, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said. The JCS later reported that 14 more missiles of various types were fired from North Korea’s east and west coasts.

The JCS said at least one of the missiles landed 26 km south of NLL, 57 km east of Sokcho, South Korea, and 167 km from Ulleung Island, where airstrike warnings were issued.

“We heard a siren around 8:55 a.m. and everyone in the building went down to the basement evacuation center,” an Ulleng County official told Reuters. “We heard that the shell fell into the open sea, and we stayed there until we got to the top at around 9:15,” he said.

Residents living in the southern part of the island did not receive any warnings, he said.

South Korea’s military said the North also fired more than 100 artillery shells from its east coast into a military buffer zone established by a military agreement with the South.

The firing will violate the 2018 contract, the JCS said.

North and South Korea are technically still at war, as their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

Nuclear-armed North Korea has tested a record number of missiles this year, and officials in Seoul and Washington said the North had completed technical preparations for its first nuclear test since 2017.

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North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles despite several United Nations Security Council resolutions banning the country from all ballistic and nuclear tests.

The flights came hours after Pyongyang demanded the US and South Korea halt large-scale military exercises, saying it “can no longer tolerate such military haste and provocation”.

The US and South Korea launched one of their largest military air drills on Monday, even as Yun declared a week of national mourning after more than 150 people were killed in Seoul over the weekend. Hundreds of warplanes from both sides stage mock attacks day and night in the exercise, called “Sudden Storm”. read more

MAJOR MILITARY PROGRAMS

North Korea, which has been pursuing its missile and nuclear programs for years in defiance of United Nations sanctions, has said a number of recent launches were in response to exercises by its allies.

North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee secretary Park Jong-chong said in a statement on Wednesday that the number of warplanes participating in Vigilant Storm proved the exercise was “aggressive and provocative” and specifically aimed at North Korea. According to him, even its name imitates the Operation Desert Storm launched by the US against Iraq in the 1990s.

Pak state news agency KCNA said in a statement: “The extreme military clashes of enemy forces have created a difficult situation on the Korean Peninsula.

In Washington on Tuesday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the drills were “purely defensive in nature” and the US had made clear that it had no hostile intentions towards North Korea.

Price added that the United States and its allies have made clear that if North Korea resumes nuclear tests, there will be “profound costs and profound consequences,” a “dangerous, destabilizing step.” He did not provide further details.

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In a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin called North Korea’s missile launch “unprecedented” and a “serious military provocation.” In a statement from Park’s office, the two officials condemned the missile launch and agreed to cooperate against North Korea’s threats.

LAUNCHING MISSILES IN NEW WAYS

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said some sea routes between North Korea and Japan would be closed until Thursday because of the launches.

“Our military will never tolerate such a provocation by North Korea and will respond strongly and decisively within the framework of close cooperation between South Korea and the United States,” the JCS said in a news release.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said the government believed at least two ballistic missiles had been launched from North Korea, one to the east and the other to the southeast.

The first flew 150 km to a maximum altitude of 150 km, while the second flew from 200 km to a maximum altitude of 100 km, he told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday morning.

Reuters Graphics

North Korea’s actions threaten the peace and stability of Japan, the wider region, and the wider international community, Hamada said.

Reporting by Su-hyang Choi, Choonsik Yu and Josh Smith; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom in Washington and Sakura Murakami in Tokyo; Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Gerry Doyle, Raju Gopalakrishnan, and Nick McPhee

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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