Science

North Korea fires record volley fire of 23 rockets

North Korea fired 23 short-range ballistic missiles on Wednesday (November 2) in a record firefight that prompted a reaction from its southern neighbor.

The shelling began on Wednesday morning North Korean time (Tuesday evening EDT) with the launch of four rockets from the northern province heading west towards the Yellow Sea, NBC News reported. (will open in a new tab), referring to representatives of the South Korean army. Shortly thereafter, North Korea fired three more missiles eastward from Wonsan, a city on the country’s east coast.

One of the three landed just south of the buffer zone on the maritime border between North and South Korea, something that hasn’t happened since the Korean Peninsula was divided between the two countries in 1948, according to NBC News.

On the subject: North Korea’s missile program (photo)

South Korea took this as a serious provocation and did not reconcile.

“In response, South Korean F-15K and KF-16 fighters fired three precision-guided air-to-surface missiles at a target on the northern side of the maritime border buffer zone at the same distance as the North Korean missile. “, – writes NBC News.

The shelling continued, and North Korea ended up sending almost two dozen rockets into the sky during the day, more than ever before. None of them resulted in reports of casualties or major infrastructure damage.

The launches continued a busy year of saber-rattling for North Korea, the nuclear-weapon nation whose autocratic leader Kim Jong Un has a history of florid threats against the United States and its allies, including South Korea and Japan.

North Korea launched more than 50 missiles in 2022, according to NBC News. Not all of them were short range vehicles either. In March, for example, the country tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), sending the missile on a 71-minute flight that reached a maximum altitude of about 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) and ended in splashdown in Japanese waters.

Wednesday’s launches may have been a response, at least in part, to a series of previously planned U.S.-South Korean military exercises. A large-scale joint exercise known as “Vigilant Storm” began on Monday (October 31), according to CNN. (will open in a new tab).

North Korea made the news on Wednesday for another reason as well: The White House accused the country of secretly sending artillery shells to Russia for use in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

US officials believe North Korea is “trying to make it look like they’re being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. (will open in a new tab).

Mike Wall is the author of Out There (will open in a new tab)(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrations by Carl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or on facebook (will open in a new tab).

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