The US and South Korea Respond in Force to North Korea’s Missile Tests

Eight missiles were launched into the sea on Monday from both U.S. and South Korean militaries in response to a show of force from the northern communist country. The response matched North Korea’s growing provocation in weapons demonstrations threatening peace in the region.

Of the eight missiles launched, the U.S. fired one missile and South Korea launched seven missiles. The missiles were fired into the East Sea.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the exercise involving live-fire Army Tactical Missile Systems showed that there would be an accurate and swift response to an attack from North Korea.

North Korea’s missile launch lasted 35 minutes from at least four different locations.

In 2022, North Korea launched 18 rounds of missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile, for the first time in almost five years. The U.S. and South Korea are becoming increasingly concerned about nuclear missile tests from North Korea, which would be the first time since September 2017.

In May, President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol held talks and decided to expand joint military exercises to deter a nuclear threat because they saw little hope of diplomacy. Two weeks later, both countries held military exercises involving an American aircraft carrier.

The drills took place off the Japanese island of Okinawa and involved air defense and maritime-interception operations.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “The exercise consolidated the two countries’ determination to sternly respond to any North Korean provocations while demonstrating the U.S. commitment to provide extended deterrence.”

Yeol also said that South Korea would pursue “fundamental and practical security capabilities” that would counter North Korea’s growing threat of nuclear weapons.

Yeol also pointed out the capabilities of North Korea. Yeol 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.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to his South Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup, and both shared “the assessment that the situation inside and outside of the region is grave.” They also agreed that it’s important to continue “close cooperation” between both nations.