Over the weekend North Korea once again provoked their enemies by firing missiles over the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Well, South Korea just responded in a big way.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in ordered a massive strike to show a ‘overwhelming force’ to North Korea. He wanted to ‘display a strong capability to punish’ North Korea if they continue their belligerence. Four F-15 fighters dropped eight MK-84 bombs hit a testing ground just on the border of North Korea, but still within South Korea. Each bomb yields one ton.
South Korea’s presidential spokesman, Park Su-hyun said national security director Chung Eui-yong called President Trump and national security adviser H.R. McMaster to discuss the North Korean missile launch. Both parties knew such an act would anger, but also send a message, to the dictator of North Korea:
“North Korea typically reacts with anger to U.S.-South Korean military drills, which are happening now, often testing weapons and threatening Seoul and Washington in its state-controlled media. But animosity is higher than usual following threats by Trump to unleash “fire and fury” on the North, and Pyongyang’s stated plan to consider firing some of its missiles near Guam.
“The Pentagon told reporters it was investigating the launch over Japan, adding: “North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) determined the missile launch from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America.” The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said the Japanese military did not attempt to intercept the missile.
“Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile traveled around 1,677 miles and reached a maximum height of 341 miles as it flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The launch appeared to be the first to cross over Japan since 2009.”
North Korea undoubtedly hoped to measure the response to their missile launch over Japan. Doing nothing would have further emboldened the hermit kingdom. Japan and South Korea are furious with the launch:
“Japan’s NHK TV said the missile separated into three parts. ‘We will do our utmost to protect people’s lives,’ Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “This reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat.”
“South Korea’s Foreign Ministry warned that the North would face a “strong response” from the U.S.-South Korean alliance if what it called nuclear and missile provocations continue. The ministry also urged Pyongyang to accept talks over its nuclear program and acknowledge that abandoning its nuclear ambitions is the only way to guarantee its security and economic development.”
On August 24th, Russia flew nuclear bombers near North Korea to show off force. They did this during joint ilitary exercises between South Korea and the United States:
“Russia, which has said it is strongly against any unilateral U.S. military action on the peninsula, said Tupolev-95MS bombers, code named “Bears” by NATO, had flown over the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, prompting Japan and Seoul to scramble jets to escort them.
“The flight, which also included planes with advanced intelligence gathering capabilities, was over international waters and was announced by the Russian Defence Ministry on the same day as Moscow complained about the U.S.-South Korean war games.”
North Korea interprets military exercises and tests as a prelude to war. They claim such acts are practice for invasion. So this bombing run should send a clear message.