Amid soaring tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Pyongyang and Seoul engaged in another round of provocations on Thursday. North Korean warplanes flew near South Korean borders, while Seoul conducted artillery drills and scrambled fighter jets.
According to the north’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Pyongyang engaged in aerial military drills in response to artillery exercises by South Korean troops. Roughly 10 North Korean warplanes flew within 12 miles of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and just seven miles from Seoul’s territorial waters.
South Korea responded by scrambling an undisclosed number of military aircraft, with the country’s air force saying it “conducted an emergency sortie with its superior air force, including the F-35A, and maintained a response posture, while carrying out a proportional response maneuver corresponding to the flight of a North Korean military aircraft.”
Pyongyang followed the aerial maneuvers by firing a short-range missile into the sea. The Korean People’s Army said the military activity would send “a stern warning to the South Korean military inciting military tension in the frontline area with reckless action.”
North Korea frequently conducts missile tests in response to American war games in the region. The flights near Seoul’s border are rare.
Military activity on the Korean Peninsula has rapidly increased over the past year after a period of demilitarization. US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol have abandoned their predecessors’ policy of engagement with North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
Earlier this year, the US, Japan and South Korea signed a joint pact to increase military ties, while Washington and Seoul recently conducted live-fire war games for the first time in five years. Moreover, Japan, South Korea and the US conducted trilateral military drills last week.
North Korea has carried out a record number of missile tests in 2022, which come after a multi-year hiatus following a series of meetings between Kim and former US President Donald Trump.