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PoliticsNorth Korea

North Korea fires suspected rocket launchers, Seoul says

July 10, 2022

North Korea fired what appeared to be multiple rocket launchers, South Korea's military said. It comes just days after the US deployed fighter jets to the South for joint military drills.

North Korean multiple rocket launchers at a military parade in Pyongyang
North Korean multiple rocket launchers are seen during a 2021 military parade in PyongyangImage: KCNA/REUTERS

South Korea's military said on Sunday it had detected the trajectories of what appeared to be shots fired by North Korea, possibly from multiple rocket launchers.

The South Korean military detected "flight trajectories" that were suspected to be shots from North Korean artillery, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

The presidential National Security Office held a meeting over the North's firing, and said it was "closely monitoring" the situation in case of additional launches by Pyongyang.

North Korean missile threat

North Korea often test-fires multiple rocket launchers during military drills, and in recent years has also developed larger versions of such rockets. Smaller rockets and missiles are seen as central to North Korea's plans for striking targets in South Korea in the event of a conflict.

This year, North Korea has test-fired a range of missiles, including from its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to its small multiple rocket launchers. All are banned under UN Security Council resolutions that have imposed sanctions on North Korea's missile development.

Washington and Seoul officials have warned that the isolated regime is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test. The United States warned that this move would provoke a "swift and forceful" response.

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US-South Korean drills start

A total of six US top-of-the-line F-35A fighters arrived in the South last week for a 10-day allied exercise running until July 14, in the first public deployment of American stealth warplanes in the country since late 2017.

The United States stations around 28,500 troops in South Korea, where they train alongside South Korean troops to counter the North. The allies have conducted missile drills of their own in response to some of North Korea's previous launches.

South Korea is pursuing a $2.6-billion (€2.55-billion) artillery interception system, similar to Israel's "Iron Dome," designed to protect against North Korea's arsenal of long-range guns and rockets.

Last month, South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said Seoul would "strengthen" its defense capabilities, as well as its security cooperation with Washington and Tokyo, to counter the nuclear threat from Pyongyang.

A large part of the area surrounding Seoul is home to about half the population of 52 million, and is within range of North Korea's long-range guns and multiple rocket launchers.

dh/fb (AFP, Reuters)