Friday saw a fresh escalation in regional tensions when the South Korean military reported that it had launched roughly 80 fighter jets in response to the detection of a significant number of North Korean airplanes over a four-hour period.
A day after Pyongyang is believed to have performed the failed launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the South Korean military released a statement saying it had seen approximately 180 North Korean military aircraft between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time (ICBM).
On Monday, the United States and South Korea allegedly stoked tensions on the Korean Peninsula by beginning joint military drills known as “Vigilant Storm,” which involve hundreds of aircraft and thousands of service men from both nations.
Seoul responded with three surface-to-air missiles after North Korea launched 23 missiles from its east and west coastlines into waters on each side of the peninsula on Wednesday, accusing the allies of provocative behavior.
The South Korean military said in a statement that its airplanes participating in the continuing joint maneuvers had “kept a readiness posture” since their deployment on Friday, which included an unidentified number of F-35A stealth fighter fighters.
North Korean state media reported that a government official called the decision to extend the drills by one day after Thursday’s alleged ICBM test a “very dangerous and false choice.” The United States and South Korea stated they will extend the drills for one extra day until November 5.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with his South Korean colleague at the Pentagon and afterwards condemned North Korea of “irresponsible and reckless conduct.”
We’ve said it before: this sort of thing has the potential to destabilize the region. So we urge them to stop this kind of behavior and start having meaningful conversations,” Austin said.
On Friday, the United States accused the United Nations Security Council of passivity in the face of Pyongyang’s missile launches. The meeting was called by a number of countries.
According to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, “it is abhorrent for a UN Member State to so flagrantly violate the Security Council decisions and all that the UN Charter stands for.” “The Council’s utter silence on this matter is as reprehensible.”
She spoke on behalf of 12 member nations, including South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and condemned the launches as a regional and worldwide threat in a joint statement.
Thomas-Greenfield stated that the United Nations would be “putting pressure” on China and Russia to improve and intensify sanctions against North Korea during an interview on CNN on Wednesday. She wouldn’t confirm or deny that Vice President Joe Biden would bring up the issue of sanctions with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20.