US-South Korea Military Drill Goes Awry as One Hyunmoo-2 Crashes Near Military Base at North Korea Border

The United States and South Korea fired missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday, in retaliation of the North Korean missile test a day earlier.

However, the show of strength was marred by the embarrassing misfiring of a South Korean missile that crashed at a military installation during the drill. According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, a short-range Hyunmoo-2 ballistic missile suffered technical snags during the drill. It crashed over the town of Gangneung, which lies some 90 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

North Korea tests rail-borne missile system
North Korea tests rail-borne missile system Twitter

Footage circulating online showed a large fire at the air base where the missile crashed. The mishap even caused panic among the people, who suspected North Korea might have launched an attack.

On Tuesday, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, prompting Tokyo to issue an alert asking residents to move to shelter. The ballistic missile passed over Japan and landed in the Pacific ocean after travelling 4,500 km.

Nuclear armed North Korea has been ratcheting up tension in the region for long, but Tuesday's drill was the most daring act of provocation by Kim Jong-un in recent times. It was the first time in four years that Pyongyang is firing a missile over the territory of Japan.

The US and South Korea fired two short-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) each during the show. The US and South Korea also staged a bombing drill with fighter jets in the Yellow Sea.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had said North Korea's move was a "barbaric" act. Tokyo said while it did not shoot down the missile, it would not rule out any option in future. Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan would increase counterattack capabilities. South Korea also said it was boosting its military capabilities. President Yoon Suk-yeol said the missile launch was a "reckless" act. He said Seoul would give a decisive response to the provocative act.

The US also condemned the missile launch. "This action is destabilizing and shows the DPRK's blatant disregard for United Nations Security Council resolutions and international safety norms," US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said, according to Channel News Asia.