South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office a little over two weeks ago, convened his first emergency meeting of the national security council Wednesday morning shortly after North Korea's missile launch.
Yoon strongly condemned the launch as a "grave provocation" especially as it came before U.S. President Biden had touched down on U.S. soil following a trip to Asia in which the two leaders agreed to new measures to deter the nuclear-armed state.
"North Korea's consecutive launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and short-range ballistic missiles today are illegal acts that directly violate the UN Security Council resolutions and are a grave provocation that threatens peace in the Korean peninsula and the international community. The government strongly condemns it."
President Yoon ordered his officials to take practical measures for "extended deterrence" and strengthen
the South Korea-U.S. combined defense posture as agreed with his U.S. counterpart.
Yoon's Deputy National Security Advisor Kim Tae-hyo explained that deploying U.S. "strategic assets" - which typically include long-range bomber aircraft, nuclear-powered submarines, or aircraft carriers - can be considered as part of extended deterrence although no such deployment is planned for now.
The timing of the North's launches is not an accident and Seoul's top office views the provocation as Pyeongyang sending a strategic message to both Seoul and Washington coming just days after the allies agreed to bolster their defenses and together take on the threat of North Korea.
This was their first test and they have responded quickly, condemning the launches while joint-firing
missiles of their own.
Wednesday's missile launches mark another escalation by North Korea, which, over the last six months has become increasingly aggressive. But the concern is over what comes next.
"A top office official says Pyeongyang has already tested a nuclear detonation device leading Seoul to believe its seven nuclear test could happen in the next several days. Now, that would be its first nuclear test in five years and a major step-up.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News."