The armies of South Korea and the United States 20 warplanes flew over the waters off South Korea’s west coast on Tuesday in a continuing show of force as a top US official warned of a forceful response if North Korea goes ahead with its first attack. nuclear test explosion in almost five years.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the aerial demonstration involved 16 South Korean aircraft, including F-35A stealth fighters, Y four American F-16 fighter jets and was intended to demonstrate its ability to respond quickly to North Korean provocations.
The flight came a day after the allies will fire eight surface-to-surface missiles against the waters off eastern South Korea to coincide with a weekend missile display by North Korea, which fired the same number of weapons from multiple locations on Sunday in what was likely its largest single launch. test event of the day.
North Korea may soon step up its defiance, as US and South Korean officials say the country is nearly ready to another detonation at its nuclear test range in the northeastern city of Punggye-ri. His last such test and sixth overall was in September 2017, when he claimed to have detonated a thermonuclear bomb designed for its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
US threatens Kim Jong Un
Traveling to Seoul to discuss the standoff with allies South Korea and Japan, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warned of a “swift and forceful” response if the North carries out another nuclear test. Yes ok the Biden administration has promised to push through additional international sanctions if North Korea goes ahead with the nuclear test, the prospects for further significant punitive measures are unclear with the UN Security Council divided.
“Any nuclear test would be a total violation of UN Security Council resolutions. There would be a swift and forceful response to such a test,” Sherman said, following a meeting with South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong.
“We continue to urge Pyongyang to stop its destabilizing and provocative activities and choose the path of diplomacy,” he said.
Sherman and Cho plan a trilateral meeting with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mori Takeo on Wednesday about the North Korean nuclear issue.
North Korea’s launches on Sunday added to missile tests this year that also included the first demonstrations of country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles since 2017.
Since assuming power in 2011, the North Korean leaderKim Jong Un, has accelerated its weapons development despite limited resources. Experts say that with your next test, North Korea could claim it has the ability to build small bombs that could be packaged into an ICBM with multiple warheads. or fit into short-range missiles that could reach South Korea and Japan.
Raphael Mariano Grossi Director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Monday that there are indications that one of the passages in the Punggye-ri test range has been reopened, possibly in preparation for a nuclear test.
Hours before Sherman’s meeting in Seoul, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington that the United States remains concerned North Korea could seek its seventh test “in the next few days.”
The Biden administration’s punitive actions over North Korea’s weapons tests in recent months have been limited to largely symbolic unilateral sanctions. Russia and China vetoed a US-sponsored resolution in the Security Council that would have imposed additional sanctions on North Korea for its earlier missile tests on May 25.
“We have called on members of the international community, certainly members of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, to be responsible stakeholders in the UN Security Council as a preeminent forum for dealing with threats. to international peace and security,” Price said.
“Unilateral actions are never going to be the most attractive or even the most effective response, and that is especially the case because we are pleased to have close allies in the form of Japan and the ROK,” he said, referring to South Korea. formal name, the Republic of Korea.
North Korean state media have yet to comment on Sunday’s launches. They came after the US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan wrapped up a three-day naval drill with South Korea in the Philippine Sea on Saturday, apparently their first joint drill involving an aircraft carrier since November 2017, as the countries move forward. to improve your face defense exercises. of North Korean threats.
North Korea has long condemned allies’ combined military exercises as invasion drills and has often responded with its own missile drills, including launches in 2016 and 2017 that simulated nuclear strikes on South Korean ports and US military installations in Japan.
Following North Korea’s latest launches, the United States held separate joint missile drills with Japan and South Korea, which they said were aimed at showing their ability to respond.
Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since 2019 over disagreements over trading the release of crippling US-led sanctions for the North’s disarmament steps. Since then, Kim has increased his testing activity despite mounting economic problems and has shown no willingness to completely hand over an arsenal that he sees as the best guarantee of his survival.
His administration has so far rejected offers from the Biden administration for open talks and clearly intends to turn dormant denuclearization negotiations into a mutual arms reduction process, experts say.
Kim’s pressure campaign has not been slowed by an outbreak of COVID-19 spreading among his largely unvaccinated population of 26 million amid a lack of public health tools. The North has so far rejected offers of help from the United States and South Korea, but there are signs it has received at least some vaccine supplies from ally China.
South Korean activist Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector who has for years launched anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets in balloons across the border, said his group on Tuesday flew 20 balloons containing medicine, masks and vitamin pills to help North Korean civilians.