North Korea launches second suspected missile within six days

Image source, EPA
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Kim Jong Un pledged to strengthen the North’s defenses at a crucial meeting of the ruling party last December

North Korea’s suspected ballistic missile was fired less than one week after the launch of a hypersonic weapon.

South Korea stated that it had detected the launch at 07.27 GMT Tuesday, (22.27 GMT Monday).

Japan’s coast guard reported that North Korea launched a ballistic missile-like item.

This comes just a few days after six other countries released a statement asking the North to stop its “destabilizing actions.”

South Korea’s Joint Head of Staff (JCS), stated that they detected North Korea’s suspected ballistic missile firing from its land toward the East Sea. They also said that US intelligence agencies were currently conducting an analysis.

Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, has vowed to strengthen his country’s defenses. This is part of the 2022 North Korean policy priorities. They were discussed during a crucial meeting held in December.

Monday’s joint statement by the United Kingdom and France to condemn last week’s apparent testing was issued by the US Mission to the United Nations.

Linda Thomas Greenfield, US ambassador to UN stated that “these actions increase the chance of miscalculation and an escalation” and are a serious threat to regional stability.

This group urged North Korea to “resist further destabilizing actions…and engage in meaningful dialog towards our common goal of total denuclearization.”

Yet another test, but what’s the point?

Two missile tests were conducted by North Korea in rapid succession to welcome in the New Year.

The timing of today’s test may coincide with the UN Security Council meeting at New York. This is where the US, along its allies, condemned last week’s launch.

However, it can also be used for other functions.

One possibility is to distract the public’s attention from the increasingly dire economic situation in the country. This has already been made worse by the coronavirus epidemic.

A second possibility is Washington’s interest in resumed negotiations with Pyongyang, which has been largely inactive following the 2019 failed summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

The third, less well-known reason is the following: Observers say that North Korea and South Korea have been engaged in an intensifying arms race. Both sides are working together to develop smaller, more precise, and more dangerous missile systems, which could threaten their leaderships.

As Pyongyang faces severe economic difficulties due to the coronavirus blockade, these are some of the latest testing.

Kim stated that the country is facing “great life and death struggle” at the end of the year meeting. He also said that this year was about increasing development and improving the living standard.

UN officials warned previously that North Korean elderly and children were vulnerable to starvation.

North Korea must give up its nukes, the US is calling on it. Pyongyang’s relations with President Joe Biden have been fraught.

South Korea was also accused of having double standards regarding its military activities by North Korea.

South Korea tested its first submarine launched ballistic missile. It said it was required to counter North Korea’s “provocations.”


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