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Pyongyang shoots eight SRBMs on next day of ROK-US drills

Pyongyang shoots eight SRBMs on next day of ROK-US drills

Posted June. 06, 2022 07:40,   

Updated June. 06, 2022 07:40


North Korea launched eight short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) off the East Sea on Sunday morning from four different sites including Pyongyang’s Sunan airport, making it the first time for the regime to shoot as many as eight ballistic missiles at one go. The regime conducted three missile provocations following President Yoon Suk-yeol’s inauguration on May 10.

President Yoon was briefed on the firing on Sunday in a meeting of the standing committee of the National Security Council presided over by National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han. The president ordered the committee to constantly tighten extended deterrence and combined defense readiness by performing ROK-US missile defense exercises, etc. While Pyongyang sticks to the principle of “responding to power with power” against Seoul and Washington by continuing missile provocations, it has been reported that the regime is ready to do a 7th nuclear test if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issues an order. All of this is growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang’s missile firing on Sunday came 11 days after it launched an inter-continental ballistic missile assumed to be the Hwasong-15 and SRBMs on May 25. The regime shot multiple SRBMs in a concentrated way for 35 minutes starting from 9:08 a.m. on Sunday, showing off its simultaneous impact capabilities against South Korea. The South Korean military analyzed that the North fired at least three types of SRBMs such as the North Korean version Iskander (KN-23) and the modified ATACMS (KN-24) and new tactical guided weapons consecutively.

North Korea seemingly intended to respond to the joint military drills conducted by South Korea and the United States off the coast of Okinawa from last Thursday to Saturday with even U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in action. The two allies performed joint military exercises involving aircraft carriers in four years and seven months since 2017 November.

Added to this, analysts also speculate that North Korea demonstrated its simultaneous nuclear attack capabilities that may allow it to strike at up to eight targets in the South in response to a series of warnings issued by Seoul, Washington and Tokyo including U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Kim Sung’s remarks on Friday about adjustments to U.S. military posture. “Pyongyang might have set virtual targets at the presidential office and the ROK-US Combined Forces Command in Yongsan, Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek and ports and airports where U.S. time phased forces are deployed in case of emergency,” said a South Korean military official.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com