By: Rory Zeman
On Nov. 4, South Korea deployed 80 jets, including some F-35 fighter jets, after reports of about 180 North Korean warplanes flying over North Korean territory. South Koreans spotted the warplanes north of the Military Demarcation Line, giving South Korea time to bring together their fighter jets in response.
Tensions have been rising on the Korean Peninsula since Oct. 3, when joint military drills utilizing hundreds of service members and aircraft began between the United States and South Korea. North Korea then launched 23 missiles on both sides of its coast on Nov. 3, causing South Korea to respond with three missiles of their own. Furthermore, on Nov. 4, North Korea conducted a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea justified these attacks by accusing the United States of provocative action.
Although experts believe the deployment of the North Korean warplanes was a show of strength, it still raises questions about North Korea’s rising aggression. The US asked the U.N. Security Council to hold a meeting on Nov. 4, during which U.N. countries including France, Albania, Norway, Ireland, and Britain, who also believe that North Korea’s actions pose a threat to their safety, participated in. The US attempted to install new sanctions on North Korea in May after many missile launches, but Russia and China vetoed these proposals. In recent years, North Korea has increased its nuclear testing. They are piloting atomic weapons to further develop their tactical nuclear weapons, which they have used to simulate attacks on the United States and South Korea. United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called out North Korea for its aggressive actions, calling the country “irresponsible and reckless activities.”
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea has continued to grow its arsenal of nuclear arms. North Korea set an annual record this year for themselves, with dozens of missile launches. Experts claim that North Korea increased its hostile actions with the goal of forcing the United States to view them as a nuclear power. On Nov. 3, Pak Jong Chon, secretary of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, warned that “the United States and South Korea will find that they have made a terrible mistake that cannot be reversed.”
(Sources: CBS, CNN, NBC)