Air raid sirens sounded at 2:00 PM in the center of Seoul.
South Korea conducted nationwide air defense exercises as part of the US-ROK joint exercises for the first time in six years, according to Sarbaz.kz, citing Reuters.
Sirens wailed on Wednesday as South Korea held its first nationwide air defense exercises in six years to counter North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats. However, many people appeared to ignore calls to seek shelter.
The government reinstated these exercises as part of its annual civil defense drills conducted concurrently with the US-ROK joint exercises that South Korean and US forces began on Monday to improve their response to North Korea's threat of attack.
Air raid sirens sounded at 2:00 PM in the center of Seoul. Civil defense officials asked people to leave the streets for about 15 minutes before the alert was lifted. However, many pedestrians paid little attention to these requests and did not rush to seek designated shelters or nearby underground facilities.
"I didn't know about the exercises. People don't seem to care much, and I also don't believe there will be a real war," said Na Yoon, a 52-year-old architectural designer.
Drivers in roughly 200 areas across the country were ordered to pull over. According to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, people in nearly 500 supermarkets, theaters, and other public facilities were compelled to evacuate.
Medical facilities and public transportation continued to operate normally.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol visited the "Tango" command post, a bunker complex for US-ROK combined forces, and stated that joint exercises serve as a "source of strength to deter North Korea's provocations," according to his office.
In some regions bordering North Korea, residents participated in expanded attack scenarios, including chemical, biological, and radiological preparedness, wearing gas masks, and using emergency food rations.