The South Korean air force has dropped powerful bombs in an "overwhelming" show of force against the Pyongyang regime shortly after North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile flying over Japan. The bombs hit mock targets at a military field near an inter-Korean border in Taebaek.
The North had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) early on Tuesday, 29 August, raising tensions in the Korean peninsula. After flying over Japan, the missile broke into three pieces and landed in the East Sea or the Sea of Japan.
Immediately after the North's test-firing, South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered his country's air force to flex its muscles and send a strong warning to Pyongyang. Following Moon's order, four F15K fighter jets equipped with powerful Mark 84 or MK84 multipurpose bombs took off from an air base.
Eight bombs were dropped by the warplanes and all of them struck the intended targets accurately, said South Korean officials. "The NSC [National Security Council] standing committee denounced North Korea for violating the UN Security Council resolutions by again launching ballistic missiles despite stern warnings," South Korean presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan told reporters confirming the South Korean jets' drills.
"We assessed North Korea's provocations as extremely severe and decided to maintain a vigilant posture in preparation for the possibility of additional provocations by North Korea," the chief of the NSG said.
Earlier, the South had also released video footage of its own ballistic missile launches as a show of force against the reclusive state. It is rare for Seoul to release footage of such missile launches.
The latest was North Korea's 14th missile launch since January 2017 despite Pyongyang being strictly banned from conducting ballistic tests by UN regulations. The UN Security Council is also expected to convene shortly at the request of Japan, South Korea and the US to discuss a response to the North.
Following the North's belligerent act, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Donald Trump held an emergency phone call to discuss the situation. "We completely agreed that we should further strengthen pressure (against the North) by convening an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council immediately," Abe told reporters after his 40-minute phone call with Trump during which the American leader reaffirmed the US "stands behind Japan 100%".