Seoul, South Korea CNN —
South Korea has muddled about 80 warplanes after spotting a large number of North Korean warplanes within four hours on Friday, the country’s military said in a further escalation of regional tensions.
In a statement, the South Korean military said it sighted about 180 North Korean military aircraft between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time, a day after Pyongyang believed to have conducted the failed ICBM test.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula rose on Monday as joint military exercises “Vigilant Storm” between the United States and South Korea began, involving hundreds of aircraft and thousands of military personnel from both countries, the US said.
Blaming allies for provocative action, North Korea on Wednesday launched 23 missiles from its east and west coasts — the most missiles it has launched in a single day — into waters on either side of the peninsula, prompting Seoul to use three ground-based Air missiles respond to missiles.
South Korea’s deployment on Friday included an unspecified number of F-35A stealth fighter jets, the statement said, and South Korean fighter jets participating in the ongoing joint maneuvers also “maintained a readiness posture,” the South Korean said Military.
Following Thursday’s suspected ICBM test, the US and South Korea announced they would extend drills by an additional day until Nov. 5, a move denounced as a “very dangerous and wrong choice” by a North Korean official, according to state media .
Later, after meeting with his South Korean counterpart at the Pentagon, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin accused North Korea of ”irresponsible and reckless activities.”
“We have already said that these types of activities could potentially destabilize the region. So we urge them to stop these kinds of activities and start a serious dialogue,” Austin said.
This is an evolving story. There’s more to come.