SEOUL: North Korea fired a series of artillery rounds over the weekend, the Seoul military said, days after leader Kim Jong Un vowed to use ‘power for power’ to defend the sovereignty of the country.
The South Korean military has detected “several flight paths” believed to be fire from North Korean artillery, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said on Sunday.
The alleged shots were fired between 8:07 a.m. (2307 GMT) and 11:03 a.m. Sunday morning, the JCS said, stressing that Seoul maintains firm military readiness in conjunction with the treaty-allied United States.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency – which usually reports on successful weapons tests 24 hours after the fact – did not release information on Sunday’s firings, or other recent missile launches. .
The nuclear-armed North has carried out a series of sanctions-busting weapons tests this year, including firing a full-range intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017.
Seoul’s presidential national security office held a meeting Sunday night to discuss the artillery fire and reaffirmed the South’s stance to “respond calmly and sternly” to Pyongyang’s provocations, the office said.
The presidential office added that Seoul did not immediately release its findings on the alleged artillery fire on Sunday morning because the firing was of a “traditional” type with a relatively low altitude and short range.
The latest volley of fire follows warnings from Seoul and Washington that the Kim regime is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test – a move that US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said would provoke a “quick and forceful” response.
Kim last week announced plans to boost the country’s military might at a major three-day political conference that ended on Friday.
South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said on Sunday that Seoul would “strengthen” its defense capabilities, as well as its security cooperation with Washington and Tokyo, to counter the nuclear threat from Pyongyang.