South Korea and the US launched eight missiles on Monday, in response to a volley of ballistic missiles fired by North Korea the previous day.
South Korea’s president Yoon Suk-yeol said his government would respond sternly to any provocation from its northern neighbour. Speaking at a war memorial event in Seoul, he said:
We will make sure there isn’t a single crack in protecting the lives and property of our people.
According to Yonhap, he also said North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes “are reaching the level of threatening not only peace on the Korean Peninsula but also in Northeast Asia and the world.”
The US and South Korea regularly hold joint military exercises, which often anger North Korea.
Early on Monday, hours after North Korea had fired several missiles off its east coast, the two allies launched eight surface-to-surface Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) – one from the US and seven from South Korea.
Analysts say the moves are South Korea showing off its muscle, with the aid of US weaponry, according to BBC.
It is the second retaliatory display from the US and South Korea in as many weeks, with a similar move made last week after Pyongyang fired a series of missiles in the immediate aftermath of US President Joe Biden’s visit to the region.
Such displays had been rare under South Korea’s previous administration.
President Yoon, who was inaugurated last month, has pledged to take a more hardline approach to North Korea.