South Korea’s military said South Korea and the United States fired eight ballistic missiles on Monday in response to North Korea’s launch of the same number of missiles the day before.
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The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the allies launched a surface-to-surface missile of the Army’s Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) at targets in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, at dawn Monday.
The ten-minute shots come the day after Pyongyang launched eight short-range ballistic missiles, following a joint South Korean-US military exercise involving a US aircraft carrier.
“Our military strongly condemns the series of ballistic missile provocations by North Korea and strongly urges it to immediately stop actions that increase military tensions on the peninsula,” the South Korean military said in its statement.
Pyongyang has stepped up efforts this year to improve its weapons program, despite harsh economic sanctions. Officials and analysts have warned that Kim Jong Un’s regime is preparing to conduct another nuclear test.
Monday’s shooting is the second joint show of force by allies under the new South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to toughen his stance in the face of Pyongyang’s provocations.
“Our government will respond firmly and resolutely to any provocation by North Korea,” Yoon said Monday in a Memorial Day speech.
Last month, Seoul and Washington carried out joint launches, their first joint action since 2017, after Pyongyang launched three ballistic missiles, including one believed to be at an intercontinental range.
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