In an effort to escalate tensions, rival Koreas scramble warplanes2 min read
After tracking about 180 flights by North Korean warplanes inside North Korean territory, South Korea scrambled about 80 military aircraft, including advanced F-35 fighter jets, on Friday in what appeared to be a defiant show of strength.
North Korea mobilized warplanes after testing around 30 ballistic missiles in the previous two days, including an intercontinental ballistic missile on Thursday that triggered evacuation warnings in Japan, in retaliation for ongoing joint exercises involving hundreds of US and South Korean military planes.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea stated that North Korean warplanes were detected in various areas inland and along the country’s eastern and western coasts, but did not fly particularly close to the Korean border. The South Korean military observed about 180 flight trials between 1 and 5 p.m., but it was unclear how many North Korean planes were involved or whether some flew more than once.
None of the planes crossed the South Korean military’s virtual “tactical action” line, which is located 20 to 50 kilometers (12 to 30 miles) north of Korea’s land and sea borders and is used for monitoring to allow the South enough time to respond to provocations or attacks.
The United States and South Korea have been conducting joint “Vigilant Storm” aerial exercises involving approximately 240 warplanes, including F-35s. The exercises were supposed to end on Friday, but the allies decided to extend them until Saturday in response to North Korea’s increased testing activity this week.
The drills were extended on Thursday after North Korea conducted an ICBM test, which triggered evacuation alerts and temporarily halted trains in northern Japan. Following the launch, it launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.
A senior North Korean military official, Pak Jong Chon, subsequently made a statement threatening reprisal for the drills’ continuation. North Korea then fired three more missiles into the sea and fired approximately 80 artillery rounds into the eastern areas of maritime buffer zones established by the rivals of their eastern and western coasts in 2018 as part of tension-reduction agreements.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and South Korean Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup issued a joint statement Thursday following a meeting at the Pentagon in which they “strongly criticized” North Korea’s recent nuclear demonstrations.
Both defense leaders emphasized that any use of nuclear weapons, including tactical nuclear devices, against Seoul or other regional allies like Japan, would “result at the end of the Kim Jong Un regime by an overwhelming and decisive response of the alliance,” Lee said at a joint news conference with Austin.
To know more updates like this: RESEARCH EDITORIAL “LATEST BUSINESS INSIDER NEWS BY THE RESEARCH EDITORIAL…!”