Twelve North Korean warplanes flew in formation near the South Korean border in a simulation of an air-to-ground attack Thursday, prompting Seoul to scramble 30 fighter jets of its own.
The South Korean military says it detected eight fighter jets and four bombers in the North Korean formation. South Korea’s flight of 30 warplanes did not engage the sortie, however, and only guarded the country’s airspace. The flight is only the latest aggression to come from Kim Jong Un’s regime, which has launched numerous ballistic missiles in recent weeks.
North Korea fired a pair of short-range missiles early Thursday in further response to joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korean militaries. The U.S. Navy has deployed the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier to the region to participate in exercises.
The drills have not been without mishaps, however, as a South Korean ballistic missile malfunctioned and exploded on the ground on Wednesday.
U.S. military officials clarified that the warhead on South Korea’s missile did not explode, but the propellant caused a large blast and flames. The incident caused many local residents to fear that an attack from the North was underway, and the military didn’t clarify the cause of the explosion and flames for hours.
No injuries were reported from the incident, civilian or otherwise, however, and South Korean officials say no buildings were damaged.
Both U.S. and South Korean warplanes took part in a bombing exercise using JDAM precision bombs after an earlier launch from the North on Tuesday.
North Korea fired three ballistic missiles in the lead-up to Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Seoul last week, which coincided with pre-planned military drills between the U.S. and South Korea.
Tuesday’s launch flew more than 2,800 miles, the longest flight from a North Korean missile in months, according to White House National Security Council coordinator John Kirby. The U.S. was still assessing the flight information to determine what kind of missile the regime fired as of Wednesday.