Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered his country’s military on Tuesday to demonstrate a “strong retaliatory power” against North Korea in the wake of Pyongyang’s ballistic missile launch earlier in the day, his spokesman said.
South Korea responded to the launch by undertaking a bombing run on a test range involving four F-15K jet fighters on Tuesday morning, Yoon Young-chan told reporters.
In the exercise held at Moon’s instruction at 9.20am, eight bombs were dropped on the Taebaek firing-drill site, Yoon said.
The latest launch took place during an annual joint military exercise between South Korea and the US, amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following a number of short-range missile launches conducted over the weekend.
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that its government “strongly condemns North Korea’s provocation, made again” despite the message conveyed by the international community with the adoption of new, stricter UN Security Council sanctions resolution earlier this month.
Pyongyang’s testing of nuclear and ballistic missile technology is banned by the UN and is the subject of multiple international sanctions.
“The North Korean government should clearly realise its denuclearisation is the only genuine path to ensure its security and economic development,” the ministry said, urging Pyongyang to “come to the path of dialogue” instead of “making reckless provocations”.
If North Korea ignores such calls, the ministry warned South Korea and the US would respond strongly.
The ministry said its top diplomat, Kang Kyung-wha, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed during a 15-minute telephone call to take “resolute measures” over the launch.
South Korea’s military separately issued a strong warning to North Korea, with Roh Jae-cheon, spokesman for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying the North would face “resolute and strong retaliation” if it continues its provocative actions.