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Tension mounts on Korean Peninsula as Seoul, Washington hold joint drill

Frank Smith
Press TV, Seoul

The US and South Korea Monday began their largest joint air force exercises ever, with 240 planes participating. North Korea warned the US about the drills, which it views as a rehearsal for invasion.

Pyongyang Wednesday launched 17 ballistic missiles, with one missile landing south of the maritime border, says South Korea’s military.

South Korea then launched three guided missiles from jet fighter aircraft toward the Northern side of the eastern sea border. Japan also reacted to North Korea’s missile firing.

The security atmosphere surrounding the Korean Peninsula has been steadily deteriorating since conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol came to power in May, promising to strengthen the alliance with the US and take a hard line with North Korea. In late summer the US and South Korea held the largest land-base military exercises since 2017.

During a previous South Korean launch of missiles in response to North Korean missile, testing one South Korean missile was lost, another landed just 700 meters from a civilian residential area and caused a fire on the military base. This demonstrates the inherent risk of these missile launches and joint US-South Korea drills for an accident or miscalculation that could cause armed conflict. 

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