Pyongyang issued alert to ships over possible missile test: Seoul

Seoul, Aug 19 (EFE).- North Korea issued a maritime exclusion alert earlier this week on its northeastern coast, South Korean military sources told Yonhap news agency Thursday, in an apparent preparation for missile tests that were finally not carried out.

The alert was issued and in force Sunday and Monday – as the South Korean and the United States armies began their summer maneuvers, which once again were harshly criticized by Pyongyang.

North Korea usually issues these alerts to ships before carrying out missile launches so that they avoid navigating areas where projectiles could potentially hit the water, although in this case there was no launch, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman told EFE.

This spokesman did not confirm the issuance of the navigation alert, but did say “North Korea is carrying out summer maneuvers” and that both Seoul and Washington “are closely monitoring the situation.”

In any case, US troops flew an E-8 surveillance plane Monday over the Korean peninsula, according to air tracking websites, with the apparent intention of tracking the movements of North Korean strategic forces.

North Korea usually conducts its summer exercises around the same dates as South Korea and the US, and on many occasions has responded with missile launches, something many believe may occur this year.

This is especially the case after Pyongyang harshly criticized last week that Seoul decided to go ahead with maneuvers after the regime agreed to reuse telematics lines between the two Koreas after more than a year without cross-border communication.

Since then North Korea has not responded to phone calls from the South. Pyongyang sees the joint exercises between Seoul and Washington as a test to invade their territory.

This year, the maneuvers consisted of a command post exercise carried out by means of a computer simulation that does not include movements of troops abroad and also includes a smaller number of troops due to the pandemic. EFE


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