The provocative move came after more than 10 North Korean warplanes staged menacing flights close to the inter-Korean border, prompting the South Korean Air Force to scramble its F-35A stealth fighters and other assets to the scene, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The JCS said it detected the SRBM launch from the Sunan area in Pyongyang at 1.49 a.m., and that the missile flew some 700 km at an apogee of 50 km at a top speed of about Mach 6, reports Yonhap news Agency.
It also detected the North’s firing of some 130 artillery shots into the Yellow Sea from Majang-dong, Hwanghae province, between 1.20 a.m. and 1.25 a.m., and of some 40 artillery shots into the East Sea from Gueup-ri, Gangwon province, between 2.57 a.m. and 3.07 a.m.
The artillery shots landed in eastern and western buffer zones north of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto inter-Korean sea border, which were delineated under the two Koreas’ Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA) signed on September 19, 2018, to reduce tensions.
The North’s Korean People’s Army said later that it took “strong countermeasures” in response to what it claims to be a 10-hour-long South Korean artillery exercise.
In response to the latest provocation, South Korea said Friday it has put 15 North Korean individuals and 16 institutions on its blacklist in its first unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang in nearly five years.
The people on the new list include officials at shipping firms and organisations related to the North’s missile program, as well as those involved in the procurement of supplies for weapons of mass destruction.
“We strongly condemn North Korea for staging a series of missile provocations with unprecedented frequency recently and suggesting the use of tactical nukes against us,” the Foreign Ministry said.
This marks the first time the South Korean government has slapped sanctions on the North since 2017, following Pyongyang’s sixth nuclear test.
It is the first set of sanctions against the North since the launch of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration in May.
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