North Korean planes flew as close as seven miles north of the de facto inter-Korean sea border, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). Pyongyang’s warplanes have also been spotted just over ten miles north of the land border.
The accidents occurred late Thursday and Friday morning and involved about 10 warplanes in Pyongyang. North Korea also sent warplanes near the south last week, but the recent flights – considered highly unusual – veered more closely into Seoul’s airspace. The South Korean military said it “conducted an emergency sortie with its superior air force, including F-35A fighters,” but no clashes were reported.
Seoul also said Pyongyang has fired artillery shells at sea buffer zones established in 2018 as part of inter-Korean peace efforts.
“The [North] A spokesman for the North Korean Army’s General Staff said that the KPA is issuing a stern warning to the South Korean army, inciting military tension in the front-line area with a reckless act.
The official said the “countermeasures” were in response to the previous South Korean artillery fire that lasted nearly 10 hours. South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it conducted artillery exercises at a site just south of the border with North Korea, but the exercises did not violate the 2018 military agreement.
“To celebrate his 10th year in office, Kim Jong Un needs to rise as a heroic leader — and he has nothing but nuclear weapons to show off his achievements,” said Ok Yang, a military strategy expert at the Asan Institute of Political Studies. in Seoul.
He said North Korea’s recent military exercises and tests, while threatening, also reveal the limits of Pyongyang’s forces. He added that the warplanes were “outdated” and indicated that the provocations were “signs of desperation”.
North Korea says it views recent military exercises by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a threat. Allies say the exercises are defensive in nature. South Korea’s presidential office on Friday held an emergency meeting of the National Security Council and pledged to work with allies to prepare for further provocations from the North.
Tensions continue to rise while nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington remain stalled. North Korea has fired more than 40 missiles this year, and this week, Kim oversaw a cruise missile test and vowed to bolster the regime’s nuclear weapons program to fend off enemies. The North Korean leader said his nuclear forces are fully prepared for “real war,” according to state media.
On Friday, South Korea also imposed unilateral sanctions against North Korea for the first time in nearly five years. The measures target 15 North Koreans and 16 organizations involved in developing nuclear and missile weapons, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry.
The short-range ballistic missile launched by North Korea on Friday was fired at about 1:49 a.m. toward the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, according to the South Korean military. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile flew about 435 miles and reached an altitude of about 31 miles.