South Korea’s armed forces conducted a joint live-fire exercise on Thursday involving some of its key missiles in a retaliatory move against North Korea, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The military shot the missiles from ground, sea and air from around the East Sea hours after the North launched an intercontinental ballistic missile into the sea, Yonhap News Agency quoted the JCS as saying.
Assets mobilised were a Hyunmoo-2 ground-to-ground missile and one Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile as well as a Haesung-II ship-to-ground missile and two JDAM air-to-surface missiles, it said.
The drills were aimed at sending a clear counterforce message to North Korea.
The JCS said the South’s military is keeping a close eye on the North’s military activities.
“It has been confirmed that in case of North Korea’s missile launch, (we) have the ability and posture to precisely strike the origin of the missile launch and command and support facilities at any time.”
It added that the North’s ICBM firing amid its rejection of a dialogue offer is a “serious challenge” to the South’s military and its alliance with the US.
Pyongyang’s show of force, the 12th this year, means an end to its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and a long-range missile testing.
The North’s latest launch came four days after it fired four artillery shots into the Yellow Sea, apparently using multiple rocket launchers, from Sukchon, north of Pyongyang.
Last week, the North unsuccessfully fired an apparent long-range rocket system.
In January, Pyongyang made a veiled threat to lift its voluntary moratorium on strategic weapons tests that it declared in April 2018 amid nuclear diplomacy with Seoul and Washington.