Three hours after Pyongyang fired a missile that touched down less than 60 kilometers (37 miles) off the coast of the South Korean city of Sokcho, Seoul retaliated.
The military of the South deemed this a trespass of its territory that was “unacceptable.”
In retaliation, it launched three air-to-ground missiles, which authorities claim fell similarly far over the Northern Limit Line (NLL).
North and South Korea’s approximate maritime midpoint is marked by the demarcation line, but the North has never acceded to the border.
On Tuesday, North Korea issued a warning that if South Korea and the US maintained their joint military exercises, they would pay “the most horrific price in history,” which was interpreted as a subliminal threat to use nuclear weapons.
After a five-year hiatus, the North is poised to restart nuclear weapons testing shortly, according to US and South Korean intelligence, which claims Pyongyang has finished all essential preparations.
Following the mob crush in Seoul over the weekend that left more than 150 people dead, South Korea is currently in a state of national mourning. The tit-for-tat missile launches coincide with this period of sorrow.
According to South Korean officials, North Korea launched at least 10 missiles on Wednesday in both the east and west.
One of the North Korean missiles, which were fired before 9:00 (00:00 GMT) on Wednesday, at least, made a landing roughly 26 kilometers from the border, 57 kilometers from Sokcho, and 167 kilometers from Ulleung Island.
It set off the air-raid sirens in Ulleung, alerting the locals to seek safety below.
The missile was instantly picked up by South Korean and Japanese officials, who strongly denounced Pyongyang’s aggression.
Despite the fact that the missile fell outside of South Korean national seas, President Yoon Suk-yeol of South Korea called it a “effective territorial invasion” and threatened a “quick and robust response.”
Only the 12 nautical miles of sea that border a nation’s territory may be claimed by that nation under international law. Mr. Yoon has made it a point to be aggressive about North Korea.
Three hours later, three South Korean jets launched three precise air-to-ground missiles into the seas off North Korea’s east coast.
With over 50 missile launches from North Korea already this year, including one ballistic missile that flew over Japan, the firings indicate a significant escalation in hostilities on the peninsula.
As part of the ongoing joint US-South Korean drills, a US nuclear-powered submarine landed off the coast of South Korea on Monday.