The South Korean military said that North Korea had launched multiple cruise missiles into the western sea off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. This was the second missile launch, apparently in retaliation for a nuclear-armed US submarine docking at a South Korean port, according to the military of that country.
The launches were discovered at around four in the morning local time (19:00 on Friday GMT), according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of South Korea.
N. Korea fires several cruise missiles into Yellow Sea: JCS https://t.co/tBukgJBM3C
— Yonhap News Agency (@YonhapNews) July 21, 2023
According to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, the JCS stated that “our military has increased surveillance and vigilance while closely collaborating with the United States and maintaining a firm readiness posture.”
On Wednesday, two short-range ballistic missiles were launched by North Korea from a location close to Pyongyang. Before landing in waters east of the Korean Peninsula, they traveled around 550 kilometers (341 miles).
The USS Kentucky, a nuclear-armed submarine, visited South Korea for the first time since the 1980s. The flight distance of those missiles almost matched the distance between Pyongyang and the port city of Busan in South Korea.
The JCS delayed disclosing the distance that the missiles fired on Saturday traveled.
In response to rising tensions with the North, Seoul and Washington are stepping up their defense cooperation. This includes joint military drills with sophisticated stealth jets between the US and South Korea and fresh rounds of nuclear contingency planning discussions.
On Thursday, the North Korean defense minister made a subliminal threat that the Kentucky’s docking in South Korea would be cause for a nuclear assault.
The Ohio-class submarine’s deployment may have coincided with “the conditions of the use of nuclear weapons specified in the DPRK law on the nuclear force policy,” according to North Korea’s defense minister Kang Sun-nam, abbreviating the country’s official name.
The Kentucky’s deployment and the nuclear emergency preparation discussions between Washington and Seoul were both referred to as “defensive response measures” by the South Korean defense ministry on Friday.
The defence ministry of South Korea further declared that any nuclear weapons use by North Korea would result in a “immediate and decisive response” and the “end” of Kim Jong Un’s rule.