This January 14, 2022 file photo from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows a tactical guided missile being launched during a firing exercise at an undisclosed location in the Asian nation from the east. KCNA PHOTO VIA XINHUA
SEOUL: North Korea appears to have conducted artillery drills on Sunday, its southern neighbor said, days after the United States deployed sophisticated fighter jets to South Korea for joint training.
In a statement, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected several trajectories suspected to be North Korean artillery on Sunday afternoon. Seoul’s military has maintained firm readiness in close coordination with the United States, he added.
South Korea’s presidential office said the alleged launches took place off the North West Coast. Presidential Director of National Security Kim Sung-han has reviewed South Korea’s military readiness and his office is closely monitoring possible additional launches by Pyongyang, he added.
North Korea has conducted an unusually large number of weapons tests this year, including nuclear-capable missiles that put both the continental United States and its allies, including South Korea and Japan, within range. struck. Some experts say the North is trying to hone its weapons technology and bolster its bargaining chip in future negotiations with Washington for sanctions relief or security guarantees.
Last week, six American F-35 jets from Eielson Air Force Base in the US state of Alaska arrived in South Korea on their first temporary deployment in about four and a half years for joint training with the planes. of Seoul hunting.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said the deployment of the jets was intended to demonstrate the allies’ combined defense posture and strong deterrence against possible external aggression while improving the interoperability of the two air forces. A US military statement said the US aircraft planned to operate over the south and its surrounding waters during the planned 10-day training mission.
North Korea generally regards joint exercises between the United States and South Korea as a rehearsal for an invasion and responds with its own weapons tests. Defense officials in Washington and Seoul have repeatedly said they have no intention of attacking the North.
Pyongyang said it was forced to develop nuclear weapons to deal with US military threats. Despite its torrid round of missile tests earlier this year, the country failed to conduct its first planned nuclear bomb test in five years, and Seoul officials said it was likely because of a ongoing Covid-19 outbreak and opposition from China, its last great ally and aid benefactor.