In direct response to a series of missile launches by the North Korean military, South Korea and the US have fired short-range ballistic missiles toward the open sea. The eight projectiles were fired within ten minutes early Monday morning and eventually fell into the Sea of Japan (Korean: East Sea), the general staff in Seoul said, according to a report by the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
The day before, North Korea had responded to a joint naval maneuver by the United States and South Korea with just as many launches of short-range ballistic missiles, which the authoritarian state is prohibited by UN resolutions. These missiles also ultimately landed in the sea.
According to the South Korean military, in responding to the missile launches ordered by Pyongyang, the allies wanted to demonstrate “the ability and determination for immediate precision strikes” against targets in North Korea.
The general staff in Seoul accused the other side of targeted provocations and urged them to “refrain from any actions that aggravate military tensions on the Korean peninsula and security concerns”.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on the design, can also carry one or more nuclear warheads. Ballistic missiles are usually surface-to-surface missiles.