On Monday, the U.S. and South Korean militaries launched eight ballistic missiles into the sea in a retaliatory show of force that matched a similar display conducted by North Korea just the day before.
The Associated Press reported that U.S. and South Korean forces were conducting a live-fire exercise that involved eight Army Tactical Missile System missiles. The American military provided one missile and the South Korean military provided the other seven.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Forces Korea confirmed that the missiles were fired into South Korea’s eastern waters over a span of ten minutes following notifications of air and maritime safety.
The retaliatory missile launches were intended to demonstrate the ability of South Korean and U.S forces to swiftly and lethally respond to aggression from North Korea.
On Sunday, the South Korean military detected eight short-range missiles originating from North Korea. They were launched over a 35-minute span from at least four different locations including western and eastern coastal areas and two inland areas north of and near the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang.
These missile launches are North Korea’s latest provocation of the international community and marks the 18th round of missile tests conducted by the reclusive communist nation so far inn 2022. This round of missile tests from the North came just one day after the South Korean military conducted a naval drill in the Philippine Sea alongside the U.S. aircraft carried Ronald Reagan.
It is believed that Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s supreme leader, is renewing his efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Yoon Suk Yeol, the newly elected president of South Korea, recently made a speech during the country’s Memorial Day celebrations that his government would pursue “fundamental and practical security capabilities” to counter North Korea’s growing aggression.
Yoon, a conservative who took office in May, has vowed to strengthen the South’s defense through collaborating with the U.S. as a strategic ally.
At the National Cemetery in Seoul, Yoon said, “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 that his government would “sternly respond to any kind of North Korean provocation.”
Yoon’s approach to dealing with North Korea breaks with that of his predecessor who emphasized amicable dialogue with the North.
Yoon said, “Just to escape temporarily North Korean provocation or conflict is not something that we should do. This kind of approach over the past five years has proven to be a failure.”