RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – North Korea has conducted significantly more missile tests than previous years. Usually also with corresponding verbal threats by leader Kim Jong-Un to the United States, maintaining an enormous troop presence in South Korea.
So far, South Korean and U.S. troops have hardly reacted to such threatening gestures from the North. This now appears to be changing. According to reports, the military has responded with a missile salvo of its own.
“The U.S. and South Korean militaries fired eight ballistic missiles into the sea Monday, a show of force that matched a North Korean missile demonstration the previous day that continued a provocative series of weapons demonstrations,” reports AP.
.@USForcesKorea & Republic of Korea militaries conducted a combined live-fire exercise this morning.
— U.S. Forces Korea (@USForcesKorea) June 6, 2022
According to international reports, North Korea had fired eight short-range missiles on Sunday, setting a record for the most ballistic missile launches from the North in one day.
The series of missile launches occurred within 35 minutes from at least four different locations, including from both coasts, North of the capital and inland. This appears to have been the cause for appropriate response in Seoul.
The South Korean military, which responded with its missile launches Monday, said, “The reciprocal missile launches were aimed at demonstrating the ability to respond quickly and accurately to North Korean attacks.”
According to the AP, eight Army Tactical Missile System missiles – one U.S. and seven South Korean – were fired into South Korea’s eastern waters within 10 minutes during the exercise between the two allied nations, according to the joint chiefs of staff of South Korea and U.S. forces in Korea.
According to the report, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol reiterated that Seoul would remain firm in responding to its northern neighbor and rival. “We will ensure that there is not a single crack in protecting the lives and property of our people,” he said.
With the help of the U.S. military, the South has again flexed its muscles against Pyongyang, launching seven surface-to-surface tactical missile systems (ATACMS). An additional eighth missile was fired directly from the U.S. side of the exercises.
Not sure what this accomplishes. I seriously doubt it demonstrates some new capability. It certainly isn’t going to deter future North Korean tests/launches. https://t.co/qNsbLSfj4e
— Eric Brewer (@BrewerEricM) June 5, 2022
The regular joint South Korea-U.S. exercises have consistently angered the North, leading to frequent threats and accusations from Pyongyang. However, with this latest missile launch as a “response” to the North, the latter could escalate further by conducting its tests with increasing frequency.
The question now is whether Washington and Seoul want to start a war with North Korea, given the already tense global situation (Ukraine war, Iran conflict, tensions of the West with China).
Tactically, this would be a threat to stability in the Asia-Pacific region on a geopolitical level, especially since Beijing could then see the favor coming and launch an invasion of Taiwan.
After all, a new Korean War would bind South Korea and the United States, and Japan which also has its historical and territorial conflicts with China.