S. Korea fires bar­rage of mis­siles in drills amid stand­off with north

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - HYUNG-JIN KIM

SEOUL, KOREA — South Korean jets and navy ships fired a bar­rage of guided-mis­siles into the ocean dur­ing drills Thurs­day, a dis­play of mil­i­tary power two days after North Korea test-launched its first in­tercon­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile.

The North’s ICBM launch, its most suc­cess­ful mis­sile test to date, has stoked se­cu­rity wor­ries in Wash­ing­ton, Seoul and Tokyo as it showed the coun­try could even­tu­ally per­fect a re­li­able nu­clear mis­sile ca­pa­ble of reach­ing any­where in the United States.

An­a­lysts say the mis­sile tested Tues­day could reach Alaska if launched at a nor­mal tra­jec­tory.

The live-fire drills off South Korea’s east coast were pre­vi­ously sched­uled.

In a show of force, South Korea and the United States also staged “deep strike” pre­ci­sion mis­sile fir­ing drills on Wed­nes­day as a warn­ing to the North.

In North Korea’s cap­i­tal, thou­sands of people ral­lied Thurs­day in Kim Il Sung square to cel­e­brate the launch.

The rally was fol­lowed by a fire­works dis­play along the Tae­dong­gang, a river that runs through cen­tral Py­ongyang.

North Korea of­ten stages ral­lies in the square to mark events that it wants to un­der­score as par­tic­u­larly sig­nif­i­cant.

A sim­i­lar rally was held last month on the an­niver­sary of the be­gin­ning of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Thurs­day’s drills in South Korea were aimed at boost­ing readi­ness against pos­si­ble maritime North Korean ag­gres­sion.

They in­volved 15 war­ships in­clud­ing a 3,200-ton-class de­stroyer, as well as he­li­copters and fighter jets, South Korea’s navy said in a state­ment.

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