UNITED STATES/SOUTH KOREA: In one of the allies’ swiftest responses to a North Korean nuclear test since 2017, South Korea and the U.S. military performed rare missile drills, while an American supercarrier changed positions east of North Korea.
It was the first time in five years that a nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, which prompted a warning for civilians there to seek shelter.
North Korea’s most recent test was described as “dangerous and reckless” by the White House National Security Council, and the American military and its allies have increased their use of force.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, South Korean and American forces responded by firing a barrage of missiles into the water. The allies had earlier conducted a bombing exercise with fighter jets in the Yellow Sea.
Along with its strike group of other warships, the USS Ronald Reagan, an American aircraft carrier that last month made its first stop in South Korea in years, will head back to the sea between Korea and Japan. The military of South Korea described it as a “highly unusual” action intended to demonstrate the partners’ resolve to counter any threats from North Korea.
Separately, the South Korean military announced that none of its Hyunmoo-2C missiles crashed during the exercise due to a failure shortly after launch.
A local homeowner sent a video to social media that was later authenticated by Reuters and showed smoke and flames coming from the military base.
The missile had a warhead, but it did not explode, according to South Korea’s military, which said that the fire was brought on by a burning rocket propellant.
Military equipment malfunctions are common, and North Korea has experienced multiple unsuccessful missile launches this year as well.
The Hyunmoo-2C, one of the South’s newest missiles, is a precision “bunker buster,” analysts claim, making it a crucial component of Seoul’s plans for attacking the North in the case of a conflict.
Seoul’s efforts to show its military might in the face of North Korea’s expanding capabilities were in danger of being overshadowed by the catastrophic failure.
The Hyunmoo-2C launch and its failure were not mentioned in the South Korean military’s official announcement of the exercise, but inquiries about it predominated later media briefings.
President Yoon Suk-Yeol promised that his nation, its friends, and the international community will respond forcefully to Japan’s overflight. Yoon Suk-Yeol has made such military force demonstrations a key component of his strategy for confronting the North.
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