Rival parties denounce N.K. missile launch into area near S. Korean territorial waters

SEOUL– The ruling and main opposition parties on Wednesday denounced North Korea’s firing of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), pointing out one of them fell in an area close to South Korea’s territorial waters.

Earlier in the day, the North launched at least three SRBMs into the East Sea, and one of them flew across the de facto maritime border with South Korea and crashed near the South’s territorial waters, triggering an air raid alert on the island of Ulleung.

According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this marks the first time North Korea’s missile has landed near South Korea’s territorial waters south of the Northern Limit Line since the division of the peninsula more than seven decades ago.

“They must know all South Korean people are mourning but went through with another provocation nonetheless,” Rep. Chung Jin-suk, the interim chief of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), said, calling North Korea an “incorrigible state.”

South Korea is currently in the middle of a national mourning period over the deadly crowd crush that happened in Seoul’s nightlife district of Itaewon Saturday night. At least 156 people were killed in the accident.

PPP spokesperson Park Jeong-ha said Pyongyang’s missile launch is an act “equivalent to a direct attack on South Korea” and the North will “pay a price.”

“We cannot accept any more of North Korea’s provocations or the seventh nuclear test, and in case of such a situation, the ROK-U.S. combined forces will sternly respond,” Park said. “The Kim Jong-un regime should pull itself together and make the right judgment.” ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea’s official name.
The main opposition Democratic Party also called on the North to stop its military provocations and promise to make no such further actions.

“We are enraged when we think about residents of Ulleung Island, who were full of fear after an evacuation order and an air raid alert were issued due to North Korea’s provocation,” DP spokesperson An Ho-young said.

Local authorities issued a rare air raid alert on Ulleung Island near Dokdo as one of the three SRBMs headed toward the island before falling into the international sea.

The North’s latest provocation came as Seoul and Washington are staging the Vigilant Storm exercise involving more than 240 aircraft across the skies of the peninsula in a bid to bolster deterrence posture against the North’s threats. Pyongyang has long denounced joint military drills between Seoul and Washington as a rehearsal for invasion.

Tensions have been running high on the peninsula in recent weeks with the recalcitrant country staging multiple missile launches and artillery firing amid growing concerns it may soon conduct its seventh nuclear test.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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