Tuesday, February 20

North Korea launches a missile into South Korean waters and Seoul responds with three more launches

North Korea has fired ten missiles on Wednesday, three of them short-range ballistic missiles, one of which fell just over 50 kilometers from the east coast of South Korea. Seoul has responded to this launch with three air-to-ground precision missiles that have hit North Korean waters.

“It is the first time since the division [de la península] that a North Korean launch falls in our territorial waters south of the NLL [siglas de la Línea Límite Norte, divisoria que delimita las aguas de ambas Coreas]”, General Kang Shin-chul, chief of operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), said in a statement.

Seoul has detected the first three missiles launched by Pyongyang at around 0151 hours (0851 local time). “Three short-range ballistic missiles launched from the Wonsan area of ​​Gangwon province into the East Sea,” the JCS has detailed. The East Sea is the name given to the Sea of ​​Japan in the two Koreas.

One of those three missiles was the one that fell on the high seas 26 kilometers south of the Northern Limit Line, 57 kilometers east of the coastal city of Sokcho and 217 kilometers northeast of Seoul. The Joint Chiefs of Staff has confirmed that an anti-aircraft alert was issued for the island of Ulleung, 167 kilometers from where the missile fell, because it apparently seemed directed there, although “the details are still being confirmed.”

The South Korean military has responded to Pyongyang’s launches with three air-to-surface precision missiles aimed at North Korean waters. F-15 and F-16 fighter planes have fired these precision missiles “into the open sea in waters north of the LLN” to, according to Seoul, “respond to the provocation” of the neighboring country.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) after the launch, his team has reported.

This launch, the 36th number made by North Korea this year and which is a record figure, coincides with the celebration of the first large-scale aerial maneuvers by the South and US Air Forces.

The tension on the peninsula has increased to dangerous levels in recent months, given the insistent northern launches, the maneuvers of the allies and the possibility that Pyongyang will carry out its first nuclear test in five years, as indicated by the satellites.