Seoul alert on national TV after missile launch in North Korea

Seoul alert on national TV after missile launch in North Korea
Seoul alert on national TV after missile launch in North Korea

North Korea fired a ballistic missile, the South Korean military said on Wednesday. (Representative)

Seoul:

North Korea fired more than 10 missiles on Wednesday, including one that landed near South Korean waters which President Yoon Suk-yeol said was “effectively a territorial invasion”.

An air raid warning was issued for Ulleungdo which was broadcast on national television and told residents to “evacuate to the nearest underground shelter”.

South Korea has also closed some air routes over the East Sea, also known as the Sea of ​​Japan, advising local airlines to detour to “ensure the safety of passengers on the routes. to the United States and Japan”.

A short-range ballistic missile crossed the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border between the two countries, prompting a rare warning for residents of Ulleungdo Island to seek shelter in bunkers.

The military said it was “the first time since the division of the peninsula” at the end of hostilities in the Korean War in 1953 that a North Korean missile had landed so close to southern territorial waters.

“(Yoon) emphasized today that North Korea’s provocation is an effective territorial invasion by a missile that crossed the northern demarcation line for the first time since the division,” his office said in a statement.

The missile that was closest to South Korea landed in waters just 57 kilometers (35 miles) east of the South Korean mainland, the military said.

The military issued a statement describing the launching of missiles near South Korean territorial waters as “very rare and intolerable”.

“Our army is committed to responding firmly to this (provocation),” he added.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff initially said they detected the launch of three short-range ballistic missiles.

But he later announced that North Korea had fired “at least 10 missiles of various types today towards the east and the west”.

Yoon Suk-yeol called a National Security Council meeting over the launches, ordering “swift and tough action to ensure that North Korea’s provocations pay a clear price.”

Japan has also confirmed North Korean missile launches, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida telling reporters he plans to call a “national security meeting as soon as possible”.

Vigilant Storm

Pyongyang’s latest launch comes as Seoul and Washington hold their largest joint air exercises, dubbed “Vigilant Storm”, which involve hundreds of fighter jets from both sides.

Pak Jong Chon, a senior North Korean official, said the drills were aggressive and provocative, according to a report by state media on Wednesday.

Pak said the name of the drills recalls Operation Desert Storm, the US-led military assault on Iraq in 1990-91 after the invasion of Kuwait.

“If the United States and South Korea try to use their armed forces against the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) without any fear, the special means of the DPRK armed forces will fulfill their strategic mission without delay,” he said. he declared.

“The United States and South Korea will have to face a terrible bargain and pay the most horrible price in history.”

Close to South Korea

One of the missiles landed in waters just 57 kilometers (35 miles) east of mainland South Korea on Wednesday, the military said.

“To protest against the joint US-South Korean exercise, Pyongyang appears to have staged the most aggressive and threatening armed demonstration against the South since 2010,” Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the AFP, told AFP. Sejong Institute.

In March 2010, a North Korean submarine torpedoed the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan, killing 46 sailors, including 16 who were on compulsory military service.

In November of the same year, the North bombed an island bordering South Korea, killing two marines, both young conscripts.

“It is now a dangerous and unstable situation which could lead to armed conflicts,” he added.

The test follows a recent blitz of launches, including what the North has called tactical nuclear exercises, which Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned could culminate in another nuclear test – which would be the seventh in Pyongyang.

Vigilant Storm air exercises were preceded by 12 days of amphibious naval exercises.

“As far as I remember, North Korea never made such a provocation when South Korea and the United States held their joint exercises,” Park Won-gon, a professor, told AFP. at Ewha University.

“Pyongyang appears to have completed its strongest deterrent. It is a serious threat. The North also seems confident in its nuclear capabilities.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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