South Korean warships on Tuesday conducted live-fire exercises at sea, a second-straight day of military swagger from a nation still rattled by the North’s biggest-ever nuclear test.
The Korean Peninsula has been in a technical state of war since the Korean War ended through peace agreement in 1953. Recently, their tensions worsen after the North conducted consecutive missile tests.
The latest explosion was reportedly a hydrogen bomb, which was a huge advance in the North’s push for possible nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the United States. The event has even resulted in South Korea boosting its own military capabilities.
Previously, Washington and Seoul agreed to lift restrictions on South Korean missiles according to the South Korean presidential office, allowing Seoul to improve its pre-emptive strike capabilities against the North.
Seoul’s Defence Ministry will deploy some 5,000 armed forces personnel at the Games, double the 2,400 on duty during the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea co-hosted with Japan. On top of investing $17.6million in security for the event, a new Special Weapons and Tactics team has also been created to guard against terrorism and assassination attempts.
Additionally, Pyeongchang is picking a private cyber security company to guard against a hacking attack from the North, tender documents show that is seeking to fast-track the selection as tensions rise in the wake of South Korea’s controversial deployment of the US THAAD anti-missile system, and as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un tests weapons at an unprecedented rate.
The committee will make all-out efforts to ensure the Pyeongchang Olympics are the safest ever, reports said as the South is blaming the North for a series of hacking attempts in the last few years
Many have speculated that more launches may be coming from the North. The Defense Ministry said Monday that North Korea appeared to be planning a future missile launch, possibly of an ICBM, to show off its claimed ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons. Though it was unclear when such a launch might happen, September 9 is the anniversary of North Korea’s founding and past launches have coincided with important national dates.
South Korea has been seeking to obtain more powerful missiles for a so-called “kill chain” pre-emptive strike capability to cope with North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threat.
In tweets earlier this week, Trump threatened to halt all trade with countries doing business with North Korea, a clear warning to China, claiming that threat unacceptable and unfair.
Russia also condemned North Korea’s tests. Putin even warns to use force against the country, saying it would “eat grass” before giving up its nukes.