(3rd LD) Yoon calls for swift action to make N.K. pay price for missile launch
(ATTN: ADDS national security adviser's remarks in last 4 paras)
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol condemned North Korea's latest barrage of missile launches, one of them close to South Korean waters, as a de facto violation of the South's territory and ordered swift action to make the North pay for the provocations.
Yoon also called on the military to be ready against additional and high-level provocations by North Korea as he presided over an emergency National Security Council meeting following the launch.
North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea, and one of them flew past the Northern Limit Line, the de facto maritime border, and toward South Korean waters in an unprecedented provocation since the division of the Korean Peninsula, according to the South's military.
"President Yoon Suk-yeol noted that North Korea's provocation today was effectively a violation of our territory by a missile that crossed the NLL for the first time since division," his office said in a press release after the meeting.
Yoon made clear that no attempt by North Korea to divide South Korean society and the South Korea-U.S. alliance will succeed.
"President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered that strict measures be taken swiftly to ensure North Korea pays a clear price for its provocation," the office said. "He also ordered the military to maintain full readiness to protect the people's lives and safety and readiness against the possibility of additional and high-intensity provocations by North Korea in the future."
The latest launch came as South Korea and the U.S. have been conducting joint air drills involving more than 240 aircraft, including advanced stealth jets, to bolster deterrence against the North.
North Korea has condemned all allied military exercises as rehearsals for an invasion.
The NSC members "strongly condemned" the provocation as an act seriously threatening peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and made clear that all responsibility for raising tensions, including through its recent launches of missiles and artillery firings in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and an inter-Korean military tension reduction agreement, lies with the North.
"The participants especially said that this provocation that was carried out during our national period of mourning clearly revealed the anti-humanity and anti-humanitarian side of the North Korean regime, and deplored this," the office said, referring to the mourning period that has been declared over the deaths of more than 150 people in a Halloween crowd crush last weekend.
The NSC members in attendance included National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han, presidential chief of staff Kim Dae-ki, Foreign Minister Park Jin, Unification Minister Kwon Young-se and National Intelligence Service Director Kim Kyou-hyun, among other officials.
Kim, the national security adviser, told reporters that the North's latest provocation is the most aggressive since 2010, when Pyongyang fired artillery shots toward the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong.
"The last time North Korea violated the NLL and carried out a military provocation was the 2010 shelling provocation on Yeonpyeong Island, and it is the first time the NLL provocation has been carried out through a ballistic missile launch," Kim said, adding that he is "stringently watching" the situation.
In November 2010, North Korea shelled the front-line island, killing four people, including two civilians.
Kim also deplored the North for carrying out a military provocation at a time when South Korea is reeling from the Halloween tragedy.
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