Seoul responds to North Korean warplanes near its border
Seoul scrambled 30 fighter jets in response to North Korea flying 12 warplanes near the border that separates the two countries on Thursday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
According to a statement quoted by Yonhap news agency, eight North Korean fighters and four bombers were spotted at around 2pm and “conducted air-to-surface firing drills for about an hour.”
South Korea immediately sent 30 fighter jets and other planes, the Joint Chiefs of Staff revealed. There was no clash, it added, as North Korea, aircraft did not cross the “tactical action line.”
The military emphasized that the incident can be described as highly unusual due to the scale of the DPRK’s drills.
“South Korean armed forces in close cooperation with the US are closely monitoring the North Korean military-related movements and maintaining a readiness posture for further provocations,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated.
The news came hours after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles in an eastern direction. Pyongyang said that the test was a “just counteraction” after several rounds of joint military drills between the United States and South Korea. Such exercises have long been considered by the DPRK as rehearsals for an invasion.
The blitz from the north came the day after the South Korean military confirmed the redeployment near the country’s coast of the US aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Ronald Reagan. Seoul’s military said this was a response to North Korea’s “successive provocations and threats.”
Pyongyang has conducted a record number of missile launches this year, staging six in the last 14 days.