Seoul, South Korea
South Korea intercepted several North Korean warplanes and shot down nearly 80 fighter jets in a four-hour period on Friday, the country’s military said, adding to tensions in the region.
South Korea’s military said in a statement that it had spotted about 180 North Korean military aircraft between 11am and 3pm, a day after Pyongyang is believed to have conducted a failed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula began to rise on Monday as the “Precautionary Storm” joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea began, involving hundreds of aircraft and thousands of service members from both countries, the US said.
North Korea accused its allies of provocation and on Wednesday fired 23 missiles from its east and west coasts – its most in a single day – into waters on both sides of the Gulf. Missiles.
Friday’s South Korean deployment included an unspecified number of F-35A stealth fighter jets, the statement said, and South Korean warplanes participating in ongoing joint exercises were also “in a state of readiness.”
After Thursday’s ICBM test, the US and South Korea announced they were extending the drills for an extra day until Nov. 5, a move North Korean officials condemned as “a very dangerous and false choice.”
Later, after meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accused North Korea of ”irresponsible and careless actions.”
“We have said before that these kinds of activities can undermine the region. “So we’re asking them to stop that kind of activity and start a serious conversation,” Austin said.
The United Nations Security Council meeting is expected to be held next Friday to discuss Pyongyang’s recent missile launch. The US, UK, France, Albania, Ireland and Norway called the open meeting, according to a spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations.
In an interview on CNN Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield condemned North Korea’s actions, saying Pyongyang has violated several Security Council resolutions.
Thomas-Greenfield said that the United Nations will put “pressure” on China and Russia to revise and improve such sanctions. US President Joe Biden declined to say whether sanctions would be lifted at the G20 with Chinese President Xi, but said it was “on the president’s mind”.