The US and South Korea wrapped up military drills involving a US aircraft carrier. Following the war games, North Korea tested eight missiles. Washington and Seoul responded to Pyongyang by conducting a series of missile launches.
The three-day exercises were led by the USS Ronald Reagan and included ships from the South Korean navy. Joint US-South Korean war games last included an aircraft carrier in November 2017. The naval operations took place off the coast of Japan.
The war games took place after President Joe Biden traveled to South Korea and met with newly inaugurated President Yoon Suk Yeol. Biden and Yoon agreed to consider increasing joint military exercises during the trip.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have been increasing throughout 2022. The test was one of North Korea’s largest, involving eight short-range missiles. Pyongyang has now fired 31 missiles in 2022, surpassing the previous maximum of 24.
The missiles were launched on Sunday from several areas of North Korea. According to South Korea’s defense agency, the missiles flew at altitudes as high as 80km and traveled between 110km and 670km. At least one of the missiles flew in various trajectories. Japan’s defense minister said the missile might have the ability to avoid defenses.
Monday morning, Seoul and Washington fired eight ground-to-ground missiles into the East Sea. The test was a response to North Korea’s missile test the day before.
Washington believes Pyongyang will soon test a nuclear weapon. North Korea has tested multiple strategic missiles in the past several months, including an intercontinental ballistic missile two weeks ago.