South Korea Conducts Live-Fire Drills and US Eases Missile Restrictions

On September 4, South Korea’s military conducted two live-fire exercises following North Korea’s nuclear test the previous day. The first exercise was a joint drill by the ROK Army and Air Force involving F-15K fighter jets, SLAM-ER missiles, and land-based Hyunmoo-2A ballistic missiles that simulated an attack on North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site. On September 5, the ROK Navy directed a second exercise and used warships including a 2,500-ton frigate, a 1,000-ton patrol ship and 400-ton guided missile vessels. “If the enemy launches a provocation above water or under water, we will immediately hit back to bury them at sea,” said Captain Choi Young-chan, commander of the 13th Maritime Battle Group. Additional joint exercises with U.S. forces are scheduled for this week.

The U.S. and South Korea have also reportedly agreed to lift limits on South Korea’s missile payload capabilities. A previous US-ROK arms agreement restricted South Korea’s long-range ballistic missiles to hold warheads of up to 500 kg.

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