South Korea Residents Evacuate Amid Missile Tests

Things are heating up in the Asia-Pacific region as North Korea amps up its weapons testing.

S. Korean man watches news broadcast of missile testing (AP News)
S. Korean man watches news broadcast of missile testing (AP News)

Record number of daily missile tests by North Korea.

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North Korea fired 23 missiles into the demilitarized coast between the North and South Korea. The increase of missile tests prompted residents from a South Korean island to flee into underground bunkers. S. Korea’s government sounded a sweeping air raid alert.

The increase of missile tests by Pyongyang is in response to S. Korea and the U.S.’s joint allied military exercises. North Korea says the U.S. and South Korea will “pay the most horrible price in history” following their joint exercises, which the Democratic Party’s Republic of Korea says is an “invasion rehearsal.” North Korea also threatened to amp up their nuclear arsenal.

U.S. and Asia defense officials suspect that North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test. The last nuclear test North Korea conducted was in 2017. Vice foreign ministers from Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. say their joint response will be decisive. Since then, the U.S. and South Korean military ramped up their training in hopes to deter any threats from the DPRK.

Efforts to deter North Korean threats have been close to moot. North Korea reportedly test fired a record number of missiles in the past year and, just Wednesday, fired a record number in a single day.

“If the U.S. and South Korea attempt to use armed forces against North Korea without any fear,” said North Korean confidant Pak Jong Chon. “The special means of the North’s armed forces will carry out their strategic mission without delay.”

Defense experts speculate that North Korea’s increased missile testing is an effort to establish the nation as a nuclear weapons state.

The DHS/OCD issued two releases today — the most the department has issued in one day. None of these tests pose any threat to the Marianas, according to Guam Homeland Security.