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Seoul denounces an “invasion” and responds



Military tension has never been so high between the two Koreas since the Korean War in 1950. On the night of Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd, North Korea fired 10 missiles including one beyond the southern maritime border -Korean. A first since the division of the Korean peninsula in 1953.

This missile launch prompted a rare air raid alert asking residents of the South Korean island of Ulleungdo (10,000 inhabitants 120 km from the South Korean coast) to take refuge in underground shelters. Seoul immediately retaliated with three air-to-surface missiles, with conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol denouncing a “de facto territorial invasion”.

Tension has been building for months and getting worse

This time the military tension between the two Koreas has just reached a milestone which could become very dangerous in the days and weeks to come.assures the koreanologist Juliette Morillot (1), specialist in North Korea. It seems that these shots are no longer directed at the United States or Japan but the South Korean neighbor whose president is on a political line much more going to war than the previous one. In fact, the missile that fell closest to South Korea landed in waters just 57 kilometers (35 miles) east of mainland South Korea, Seoul’s military said, which qualified for “very rare and intolerable” the Pyongyang shot.

President Yoon called a meeting of the National Security Council about the launch, which analysts say is one of the most “aggressive and threatening” for several years. The South Korean president further ordered measures “quick and severe so that North Korea’s provocations pay a heavy price”.

Seoul and Washington are currently holding the largest joint air exercise in their history, dubbed “Watchful Storm” (Vigilant Storm), involving hundreds of warplanes from both armies. Pak Jong Chon, marshal and secretary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, described the drills as aggressive and provocative, according to a report published Wednesday (November 2nd) by North Korea’s official press.

54 missiles fired by North Korea since the beginning of the year

The launch of 10 North Korean missiles on Wednesday comes after a series of launches, including what the North has called tactical nuclear exercises. “ There have already been 28 launches of 54 missiles since the beginning of 2022said Ankit Panda, a North Korean nuclear specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the United States. I counted 48 ballistic missiles and 6 cruise missiles, more than double than in 2019 when 27 shots were fired. »

For an American nuclear specialist, recently in Tokyo, “ it is clear that Pyongyang is stepping up the pressure on its neighbor but in order to alert Washington and Tokyo to the technological progress it has been making since the failure of nuclear negotiations with Donald Trump in 2019 “.

“To compel the international community”

I think that after these missile launches we can expect to see more in the days or weeks to come.analyzes Chad O’Carroll, founder of NKNews, a news agency specializing in North Korea, based in Seoul. An Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) far out in the Pacific would come as no surprise in response to joint US-South Korean military maneuvers. » And maybe another nuclear test. ” North Korea’s strategy aims to compel the international community to recognize its status as a nuclear power “.

Washington and Seoul repeatedly warn that Pyongyang could carry out a new nuclear test, which would be the 7th in its history. “As long as I can remember, North Korea has never carried out such a provocation when South Korea and the United States were carrying out joint maneuvers”described to Agence France-Presse Park Won-gon, professor at Ewha University. “Pyongyang seems to have completed its most powerful (measure of) deterrence. It is a serious threat. The North also seems confident in its nuclear capabilities. »



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