SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea appears to have conducted artillery fire drills on Sunday, South Korea said, days after the United States deployed sophisticated fighter jets to South Korea for a joint training.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that they detected several trajectories suspected to be North Korean artillery on Sunday afternoon. He said the South Korean military remains firmly ready in close coordination with the United States.
South Korea’s presidential office said the alleged launches took place off the North West Coast. He said Presidential Director of National Security Kim Sung-han had reviewed South Korea’s military readiness and his office was closely monitoring possible additional launches by North Korea.
This year, North Korea has conducted an unusually large number of weapons tests, including nuclear-capable missiles that put both the continental United States and its allies, including South Korea and Japan, at bay. of hitting. Some experts say North Korea is trying to hone its weapons technology and strengthen its bargaining chip in future negotiations with the United States for sanctions relief or security guarantees.
Last week, six US F-35 jets from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska arrived in South Korea for their first temporary deployment to South Korea in about 4½ years for joint training with southern fighter jets -Koreans.
South Korea’s 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 U.S. military statement said the U.S. aircraft planned to operate over South Korea and 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. US and South Korean defense officials have repeatedly said they have no intention of attacking North Korea.
North Korea has said it was forced to develop nuclear weapons to deal with US military threats. Despite its torrid round of missile tests earlier this year, North Korea failed to conduct its first planned nuclear bomb test in five years, and Seoul officials said it was likely down to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and opposition from China, its last great ally. and benefactor of aid.
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