South Korea’s military accidentally hit its own air base with a missile during exercises on Tuesday, according to new reports of the Korea Times newspaper. The unfortunate incident caused a firestorm and sent the signal opposite to that South Korea and the United States are ready to respond to North Korea in the event of any military escalation.
North Korea conducted a missile test over Japan early Tuesday, prompting the US and South Korea to launch two ATACMS missiles each in a coordinated exercise. South Korea also launched two Hyunmoo-2 missiles, one of which malfunctioned and fell on its own air base.
There were no casualties, but residents of the nearby city of Canning reported a loud explosion and a large fire, which was captured on several videos posted on social networks. The explosion raised concerns among local residents that it could have been an attack, and civilians remained unaware until Wednesday morning due to an embargo on training coverage, reports JoongAng Daily newspaper.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff informed the Washington Post that the rocket did not explode and that the fire was caused only by burning rocket fuel, contradicting reports on social media that described a loud explosion that woke the city.
The US also flew F-16 fighter jets from the Air Force’s 35th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air Base in response to North Korea’s missile tests. The US Navy’s aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan will return to the Korean Peninsula despite having just left the region, according to the report of NK News, which is a “very rare” move that is likely to increase tensions with North Korea.