Seoul, South Korea
South Korea has dispatched about 80 fighter jets after detecting large numbers of North Korean fighter jets over a four-hour period on Friday, the country’s military said, in a further escalation of regional tensions.
In a statement, the South Korean military said it spotted around 180 North Korean military aircraft between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time, a day after Pyongyang allegedly carried out a failed test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). .
Tensions on the Korean peninsula began to escalate on Monday, when joint “Vigilant Storm” military exercises began between the United States and South Korea, involving hundreds of planes and thousands of military personnel from both countries, according to United States.
North Korea has accused allies of provocative action and on Wednesday launched 23 missiles from its east and west coasts – the most missiles it has fired in a single day – into waters on either side of the peninsula. , prompting Seoul to respond with three surface-to-air missiles. missiles.
Friday’s South Korean deployment included an unknown number of F-35A stealth fighter jets, the statement said, and South Korean fighter jets participating in the ongoing joint maneuvers had also “maintained a readiness posture”, it said. said the South Korean military.
After Thursday’s alleged ICBM test, the United States and South Korea announced they would extend the drills for an additional day until Nov. 5, a move denounced by a North Korean official as a “very choice.” dangerous and false,” according to state media.
Later, after meeting his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin accused North Korea of ”irresponsible and reckless activities”.
“We have already said that these types of activities potentially destabilize the region. So we’re asking them to stop this type of activity and start a serious dialogue,” Austin said.
A meeting of the United Nations Security Council is expected to take place on Friday to discuss the recent missile launches from Pyongyang. According to a spokesperson for the US mission to the UN, the US, UK, France, Albania, Ireland and Norway had called for a public meeting.
In an interview on CNN on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield condemned North Korea’s actions, saying Pyongyang had violated several Security Council resolutions.
Thomas-Greenfield said the UN would “pressure” China and Russia to improve and strengthen those sanctions. She declined to say whether US President Joe Biden would lift sanctions with Chinese President Xi at the G20, but said it was “in the mind of the president”.