South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol accused North Korea of an “effective territorial invasion” after the communist country fired its most missiles in a single day. North Korea launched at least 23 missiles, and one landed less than 37 miles from the city of Sokcho in South Korea.
South Korea responded to the missile launches with warplanes that launched missiles over the maritime line.
The North has said the missile launches are in response to military exercises conducted in South Korea in partnership with the United States, which North Korea called “aggressive and provocative”
North Korea also warned the South and US would pay “the most horrible price in history” if the military exercises continues, which appeared to be a veiled threat to use nuclear weaponry.
The White House has said that American military forces were carrying out a routine training schedule with South Korea.
Adrienne Watson, of the White House National Security Council, said: “We reject the notion that they serve as any sort of provocation.
We have made clear that we have no hostile intent towards [North Korea] and call on them to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy,”
She continued: [North Korea] “continues to not respond. At the same time, we will continue to work closely with our allies and partners to limit the North’s ability to advance its unlawful weapons programs and threaten regional stability”.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, and South Korean counterpart, Park Jin condemned the “escalatory launch of ballistic missiles” by North Korea.
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The South Korean military said it was the “first time since the peninsula was divided” at the end of the Korean War in 1953 that a missile had “landed south of the NLL near our territorial sea”.
The missile launch happened at 9am local time during air drills by South Korea and the US, called “Vigilant Storm”.
They are the biggest military exercises the two countries have held together, as they involved hundreds of military aircrafts.
A researcher at the Sejong Institute think tank, Cheong Seong-chang, said the conflict on Wednesday was “the most aggressive and threatening armed demonstration against the South since 2010″ when 48 people died after a NorthKorean submarine sunk a naval vessel and a border island was shelled.
He added that the missile launches had created a “dangerous and unstable situation that could lead to armed conflict”.