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PoliticsSouth Korea

South Korea, US launch missiles in response to North's tests

June 6, 2022

South Korea and the US are sending a signal to North Korea, which had fired eight short-range missiles a day prior.

South Korea and US fire off eight ballistic missiles
South Korea has vowed more defense cooperation with the US amid fears that Pyongyang will soon test a nuclear weaponImage: South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff/handout/AFP

South Korea and the United States launched eight surface-to-surface missiles early Monday in response to North Korea’s volley of short-range ballistic missiles a day earlier.

What do we know so far?

The exercise included one US Army missile and seven from South Korea, fired over a 10-minute period starting at 4:45 a.m. local time on Monday (19:45 GMT Sunday). 

"The ROK-U.S. Alliance remains committed to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and throughout the Indo-Pacific. The U.S. commitment to the defense of the ROK remains ironclad," the US Indo-Pacific Command said, using South Korea’s official name.

Japan and the US also conducted a joint military exercise on Sunday in response to Pyongyang’s latest missile tests.

North Korea fired at least eight short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Sunday over a 35-minute period, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff had said. This was North Korea's 18th round of missile launches this year alone, leading to more speculation about the country’s push to conduct a nuclear test for the first time since 2017. 

Last month, Pyongyang test-fired at least three missiles, including possibly its largest intercontinental ballistic missile: Hwasong-17.

Allied show of force

At a Memorial Day event on Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Pyongyang's missile and nuclear weapons programs have reached a level where they pose a threat to both regional and world peace.

The tests come days after the newly-elected president met with US President Joe Biden in Seoul. They had agreed to increase bilateral military drills to deter North Korea’s nuclear expansionism.

Pyongyang’s latest missile launches came a day after both countries wrapped up joint US-South Korea naval maneuvers including air defense, anti-ship, anti-submarine, and maritime interdiction operations. USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was among the major warships that took part.

see/wd (Reuters, AP)