US, South Korea respond to North Korea’s missile over Japan with bombing drills

In response to North Korea firing an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile over Japan, the US and South Korea carried out precision bombing drills. South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said the drills aimed to demonstrate the allies’ “capabilities to conduct a precision strike at the origin of provocations.”

“With the participation of four South Korean Air Force F-15Ks and four US Air Force F-16 fighters, South Korea’s F-15K fired two joint direct attack munition (JDAM) bombs against a virtual target at the Jikdo shooting field in the West Sea.”

North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in five years, with residents being warned to take cover in northern Japan. Train operations were also temporarily suspended. The Japanese government warned citizens to take cover as the missile flew over and fell into the Pacific Ocean. Tokyo says the missile’s 4,600 kilometres range may have been the longest distance travelled for a North Korean test flight. Usually, they are sent higher into space to avoid flying over neighbouring countries.

According to The Straits Times, the latest missile was the fifth in 10 days by Pyongyang, coming after Japan, US, and South Korea conducted trilateral, anti-submarine exercises. Those drills included a US aircraft carrier, which stopped in South Korea for the first time in five years. Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada says Japan would not rule out any options, including counterattacks.

South Korea also agreed by noting that it would boost its military and increase cooperation with allies. Japan’s top government spokesman, Hirokazu Matsuno, said North Korea’s actions are negatively impacting the international community, while the US also condemned the “dangerous and reckless” decision by North Korea to launch the long-range missile over Japan. The launch has violated the UN Security Council resolutions, which have previously sanctioned North Korea over its nuclear and missile programmes.

“North Korea’s series of actions, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, threatens the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community, and poses a serious challenge to the entire international community, including Japan.”

Daniel Kritenbrink, the US diplomat for East Asia, said America is open to diplomacy with North Korea but it very much takes two to tango. He went further to say that we are leaving the door open but we will respond resolutely to the growing threat.

The missile’s flight details have analysts thinking the missile is the Hwasong-12 IRBM, which North Korea unveiled back in 2017. The unveiling was regarded as part of a plan to attack US military bases in Guam, according to a former South Korea Navy officer. Another expert said North Korea’s ability to fly the missile over a long distance allows the government to test missiles under more realistic conditions.

US and South Korean officials believe that South Korea may conduct another nuclear test soon after China’s upcoming party congress on October 16. South Korea’s defence minister backed up the hunch by noting that North Korea completed preparations for a nuclear test last May.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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