North Korea has launched a ballistic missile again. Two missiles are said to have been launched into the sea off the east coast, according to the South Korean military.
North Korea once again conducted two ballistic missile tests. According to the South Korean military, two short-range missiles flew towards the Sea of Japan (Korean: East Sea) on Saturday morning (local time). This was reported by the South Korean news agency Yonhap. They reached a flight altitude of about 30 kilometers and a range of 350 kilometers.
Japan also confirmed that two missiles were fired. Japan’s Deputy Defense Minister Toshiro Ino said the missiles were “flying in irregular trajectories”. According to experts, this may indicate that the missiles are maneuverable in flight. This makes them harder to track and block.
Fourth missile launch in a week
Already this week was the fourth rocket launch. Most recently, North Korea conducted a test with two ballistic missiles on Thursday, just hours after US Vice President Kamala Harris left South Korea.
During his visit to the Korean border, Harris criticized North Korea in unusually strong language as “a brutal dictatorship with widespread human rights abuses and an illegal weapons program that threatens peace and stability.”
US command sees no “immediate threat”
The US military’s Indo-Pacific Command said on Saturday that the missile tests “do not pose an immediate threat” to the United States and its allies, but underline the “destabilizing effect” of North Korea’s illegal missile programs.
Experts also see North Korea’s latest rocket tests as a response to naval maneuvers this week by South Korean and US forces. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan also participated in the four-day naval exercises. It was the first deployment of a US aircraft carrier to South Korea in almost four years.
North Korea regularly accuses the United States of preparing an attack by conducting military maneuvers with South Korea – which both countries deny.
Tensions between North Korea and the US
Tensions in the region have risen sharply after North Korea conducted a series of nuclear-capable missile tests this year. The country is also reportedly preparing to launch a submarine ballistic missile and possibly launch its first nuclear test since 2017. UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing any ballistic missile that may also carry one or more nuclear warheads, depending on its design. These are usually surface-to-surface missiles.
North Korea’s parliament passed a law on state nuclear policy earlier this month. Among other things, this ensures the use of nuclear weapons not only in the event of an attack by enemy forces, but also in the event of an impending attack on the leadership in Pyongyang. The country faces harsh international sanctions because of its nuclear weapons program.
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