North Korea launches suspected ballistic missiles into the sea

South Korea and Japan said that North Korea launched a missile that appears to be a ballistic missile into the sea on Wednesday, the first such launch this year by Pyongyang.

In the ten years since Kim Jong Un took power, North Korea has made rapid progress in military technology at the cost of international sanctions.

Despite the economic difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, after a year of major weapons testing, this nuclear-weapon nation fired its first obvious weapon in 2022.

The South Korean military stated that North Korea launched a “presumed ballistic missile” into the eastern waters of the peninsula at around 8:10 a.m. (2310 GMT on Tuesday).

“South Korea and the US intelligence services are closely analyzing further details,” the Seoul Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida described it as a “possible ballistic missile launch.”

He told reporters: “North Korea has continuously launched missiles since last year, which is indeed regrettable.”

Kishida said that the Japanese government is analyzing the details, including how many missiles may have been launched.

The Japanese Coast Guard had earlier stated that it had discovered a ballistic missile that appeared to be launched from North Korea and warned ships in the area not to approach any suspicious objects.

The launch took place after Kim Jong-un delivered a speech last week, in which he stated that North Korea will continue to enhance its military capabilities.

North Korea said that in 2021, it successfully tested a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile, long-range cruise missile, train-launched weapon, and what it calls a hypersonic warhead.

-Stagnation conversation-

After the talks between Kim Jong Un and then President Donald Trump broke down in 2019, the dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang remained stagnant.

Under the leadership of Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, the United States has repeatedly expressed its willingness to meet with North Korean representatives and that it will seek denuclearization.

But so far, Pyongyang has rejected this proposal, accusing Washington of pursuing a “hostile” policy.

At the end of an important meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party last week, he did not mention the United States at all.

In recent years, Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s statement has not received close attention around his foreign policy stance, but has focused on food security and development in an extensive speech.

But he said that taking into account the “military environment on the Korean Peninsula” and the ever-changing international situation, Pyongyang will continue to strengthen its capabilities.

North Korea has been subject to multiple sets of international sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and these programs are progressing rapidly under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.

This poor country has also been under self-imposed strict coronavirus lockdown, which has caused severe damage to its economy.

However, a United Nations report in October stated that the deteriorating economic situation during the pandemic did not weaken these plans, and North Korea continued to seek weapons development.

Concerns about the full-blown food crisis in North Korea are increasing, and a UN human rights expert warned in October that the most vulnerable groups are “in danger of starvation.”

sh/qan/mtp

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