WWNC – On Saturday, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off the east coast, according to the South Korean military. This was Pyongyang’s fourth launch in a week, which has increased tension on the Korean peninsula.
The launch follows a trip to the region this week by U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, and it comes after trilateral anti-submarine exercises on Friday between the fleets of South Korea, the United States, and Japan for the first time in five years.
According to a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea, the two short-range missiles were fired from Sunan, which is located north of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. At 30 km altitude and a speed of Mach 6, it calculated the range to be 350 km (217.5 miles).
At least two possible ballistic missile launches by Pyongyang were also reported by the coast guard of Japan. Toshiro Ino, Japan’s State Minister of Defense, said that the missiles traveled 400 and 350 kilometers and reached a height of 50 kilometers.
Ino said that Tokyo has expressed its displeasure to the North through diplomatic channels and added that it’s possible the rockets took a “irregular trajectory” in order to get through missile defense.
According to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, it is aware of the ballistic missile launches and has determined they do not present a direct threat to American citizens, its territory, or its allies.
Before and after Harris’ visit to South Korea, North Korea fired missiles, continuing a record pace of weapons testing this year as it ups the threat of a credible nuclear state that can attack the US and its allies.
Furthermore, Pyongyang performed the first ICBM test since 2017 today.
Analysts believe that the accelerated testing is a drive to create operational weapons as well as a ploy to “normalize” its testing by taking advantage of a world preoccupied with the conflict in the Ukraine and other issues.
The U.S.-China trade war and Russia’s annexation of more Ukrainian territory have caused the world to become divided, according to professor Leif-Eric Easley at Ewha University in Seoul. “Despite North Korea’s internal weaknesses and international isolation, it is rapidly modernizing weapons,” he said.
“While South Korean politics are hampered by infighting,” the South Korean president said, referring to the Kim government, “the Yoon administration is likewise facing stiff resistance from the Kim regime.”
sanctions against the North due to its nuclear and ballistic missile testing by the U.N. Security Council. Such actions are opposed by Pyongyang as an infringement on its sovereign right to self-defense and space research.
According to South Korean MPs, the North has finished its preparations for a nuclear test, which may take place between the Communist Party meeting in China in October and the U.S. midterm elections in November.