The frequency and pace of North Korea's ballistic missile launches have grown this year, almost to the point of now becoming 'routine' amid the usual accompanying threats from Kim Jong Un; however, what's not common is for US and South Korea to 'answer' in as alarming a fashion - but that's precisely what happened in response to the latest salvo from Pyongyang...
"The U.S. and South Korean militaries launched eight ballistic missiles into the sea Monday in a show of force matching a North Korean missile display a day earlier that extended a provocative streak in weapons demonstrations," The Associated Press reports.
.@USForcesKorea & Republic of Korea militaries conducted a combined live-fire exercise this morning.— U.S. Forces Korea (@USForcesKorea) June 6, 2022
This exercise used 1 @USArmy missile and 7 @ROK_Army missiles.
Details --> https://t.co/UUe45BCl4z@ROK_MND | @INDOPACOM | @UN_Command | #탄도미사일 pic.twitter.com/4wGnrTjOBu
North Korea on Sunday had fired eight short-range missiles, marking what international reports said is a single-day record for most ballistic missile launches from the north. The series of launches came over 35 minutes from at least four separate locations, including both coasts and from north of the capital, among inland areas.
In responding quickly with its own corresponding Monday launches, the South Korean military described that "The tit-for-tat missile launches were aimed at demonstrating the ability to respond swiftly and accurately to North Korean attacks."
According to details in the AP, "The allies’ live-fire exercise involved eight Army Tactical Missile System missiles — one American and seven South Korean — that were fired into South Korea’s eastern waters across 10 minutes following notifications for air and maritime safety, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Forces Korea."
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol affirmed that Seoul would remain firm in its response to its northern neighbor and rival. "We will make sure there isn't a single crack in protecting the lives and property of our people," he said.
Some pundits were quick to question whether this will have any deterrent effect whatsoever: unlikely, they said.
Not sure what this accomplishes. I seriously doubt it demonstrates some new capability. It certainly isn’t going to deter future North Korean tests/launches. https://t.co/qNsbLSfj4e— Eric Brewer (@BrewerEricM) June 5, 2022
He said that Pyongyang's latest signs of a ratcheting nuclear and ballistic missile program "are reaching the level of threatening not only peace on the Korean Peninsula but also in Northeast Asia and the world," Yonhap reported.
In the south's fresh muscle-flexing aimed at Pyongyang with the help of the US military, it launched seven surface-to-surface Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS). An additional eighth was launched directly from the US side of the drills. South Korea and US joint drills, which come routinely, have consistently angered the north, resulting and frequent threats and denunciations. With this latest missile launch 'response' to the north, however, the north could choose to escalate further by ramping up more and more frequent tests.