The South Korea air force on Tuesday sent four F-15K fighter jets to bomb simulated targets near the inter-Korean border, in a response to a test by North Korea of a ballistic missile earlier in the day.
The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) said in a written statement that it had “reaffirmed the reaction capability of the air force to raze the enemy’s leadership in case of emergency.”
“If North Korea threatens the security of our people and the ROK – U.S. alliance with nuclear weapons and missiles, we will wipe out the North Korean leadership with our air force’s strong capability to strike [their targets],” Major Lee Guk-no, who directed the exercise, said.
President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday ordered the South Korean military to display its “powerful capability to punish North Korea,” the Blue House announced.
North Korea reportedly conducted a test of a ballistic missile at 0557 KST. The missile flew over Japan and landed in the sea east of Hokkaido, in a move the Japanese government has described as an “outrageous act that poses an unprecedented, grave and serious threat.”
Yoon Young-chan, senior presidential secretary for public relations, said that the Blue House held an emergency meeting of the standing committee of the National Security Council (NSC) at 0700 local time.
“President Moon Jae-in ordered to ‘show off the powerful capability to punish North Korea’ while being briefed by National Security Office (NSO) Chief Chung Eui-yong over the issue right after the North’s missile launch this morning,” the South Korean presidential office said in a written statement.
“In accordance with [Moon’s statement], four F-15K fighter jets of our air force staged drills dropping eight Mark 84 bombs at Pilsung Shooting Range in Taebaek at around 0920 KST this morning.”
The Pilsung Shooting Range is located in Gangwon Province near the inter-Korean border.
Footage of live-fire drills from ROKAF
In further response to the DPRK test launch, South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development (ADD), an affiliate of the Ministry of National Defense (MND), made public a video of a test last Thursday of several newly-developed ballistic missiles.
“We fired three projectiles consecutively as the last flight for the deployment of 500-km-range and 800-km-range ballistic missiles with the improved warhead power… on August 24,” the ADD said in a written statement.
One 500-km-range missile and two 800-km-range ballistic missiles are seen being test-fired in the video.
“This is the tailored and new-type ballistic missile that can accurately penetrate and destroy the core facilities of North Korea,” the ADD said, adding that South Korea has built up a three-axis system to respond to threats from Pyongyang.
Seoul has developed a new ballistic missile “with improved accuracy” and enhanced its missile capabilities by “extending ranges and diversifying warheads.”
South Korea’s three-axis missile defense system includes the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike program, the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) systems.
“[We] have verified the accuracy and reliability and proven the superiority of our ballistic missiles,” the ADD said. “[The 800-km-missiles] can destroy all targets, including North Korean nuclear and missile bases as they can strike under all weather conditions.”
The South Korean military warned Pyongyang that Seoul “has missile capabilities with the highest level of accuracy and destructive power that can hit immediately anywhere in North Korea.”
South Korea’s MND released rare footage of a recent ballistic missile test
In response to Tuesday’s test, the Blue House reported that South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-hwa held talks over the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“It is very disappointing that North Korea made a missile provocation despite [the U.S.] offering dialogue,” Tillerson was quoted as having said.
Kang and Tillerson reportedly agreed to draw up measures for “tougher sanctions on North Korea” and will bring the issue of the launch to the UN Security Council (UNSC) for discussion.
Chung Eui-yong also spoke over the phone for 15 minutes with his U.S. counterpart H.R. McMaster, to share views on “the grave security situation due to the series of strategic provocations by North Korea and the ways to respond,” the Blue House added.
“Both sides discuss a wide range of countermeasures, including the deployment of strategic assets and pursuing additional sanctions against North Korea through the UN Security Council to effectively deter North Korea,” Yoon said.
Neither the Blue House or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), when contacted by NK News on Tuesday, were able to confirm when or if new sanctions would, in fact, be proposed to the UNSC less than a month after the passage of resolution 2371.
In a separate statement, the South Korean presidential office said the Trump administration was fully behind the Moon Jae-in government’s policy toward the North.
“President Donald Trump fully supports President Moon Jae-in’s North Korea policy and the South Korean government’s countermeasures against North Korean provocations,” McMaster said in a statement released by the Blue House.
Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo is due to make a state visit to the U.S. from Tuesday to Saturday, and Song and the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis will hold a bilateral meeting on Wednesday.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: The Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF)
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