(AP) — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Monday said his government would pursue “fundamental and practical security capabilities” to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons and missile threat.

“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs have grown to a point where they are not only a threat to the Korean Peninsula, but to Northeast Asia and world peace,” Yoon said at the National Cemetery in Seoul, during a ceremony to mark the Memorial Day holiday.

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He added his government would “sternly respond to any kind of North Korean provocation.”

Yoon, a conservative who took office in May, has vowed to strengthen the South’s defense in conjunction with its alliance with the United States.

His goals include enhancing missile strike and interception capabilities and resuming large-scale military exercises with the United States, which were suspended or downsized in recent years to create space for diplomacy with Pyongyang or because of COVID-19.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries launched eight ballistic missiles Monday into the sea in a show of force matching a North Korean missile display a day earlier that extended a provocative streak in weapons demonstrations.

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The South’s military on Sunday detected North Korea firing eight short-range missiles over 35 minutes from at least four different locations, including from western and eastern coastal areas and two inland areas north of and near the capital, Pyongyang, in what appeared to be a single-day record for the country’s ballistic launches.