North Korea launches ballistic missiles amid heightened hostility

Seoul, South Korea-North Korea launched ballistic missiles into the East Sea on Wednesday, South Korean and Japanese officials said North Korean leader Kim Jung-eun “as fast as possible” to develop his nuclear weapons. A few days after vowing to speed up “at a pace”. And threatened to use them against rivals.

The launch of North Korea’s 14th weapon launch this year also took place six days before the new conservative South Korean president took office for a five-year term.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the missile was launched from the North Korean metropolitan area and flew off the east coast. It called North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches a “serious threat” and violated a UN Security Council resolution banning North Korea from launching ballistic missiles, undermining international peace and security.

According to the statement, South Korea’s JCS chief, Motohito, held a video conference in Seoul with US general Paul LaCamera, who heads the US-Korea Union Command, and has a strong joint defense stance.

Japan also detected the North Korean launch and immediately blamed it.

“A series of actions by North Korea that threaten the peace, security and stability of the international community is unacceptable,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters during his visit to Rome.

Fumio Kishida said he would discuss the launch when he met Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi late Wednesday. “Of course, we will exchange views on the regional situation in the Indo-Pacific and East Asia, thoroughly explain the reality of the region, including today’s North Korean missile launch, and understand the imminent situation in East Asia.” rice field.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) told reporters during his visit to Rome on May 4, 2022, after North Korea launched a ballistic missile amid heightened hostility. (Sadayuki Goto / via Kyodo News AP)

Japan’s Deputy Minister Makoto Oniki said the missile is believed to have landed in waters outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. There are no reports of damage or injury from ships or aircraft in the area.

The missiles launched by North Korea were not immediately known. According to South Korean troops, the missile flew about 470 kilometers (290 miles) at a distance of 780 kilometers (485 miles), while Japan’s Oniki flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) at a maximum altitude of 800 kilometers (500 miles). rice field. ..

According to observers, the unusually fast pace of North Korea’s weapons tests this year underscores the dual goal of advancing missile programs and putting pressure on Washington to deepen the freeze on nuclear negotiations. They say Kim is finally aiming to use his expanded weapons to make North Korea internationally recognized as a nuclear power.

One of the recently tested North Korean missiles was an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the entire continental United States. The missile launch defeated Kim’s voluntary 2018 moratorium in a large weapon test.

There are signs that North Korea is also preparing for a nuclear test at a remote test facility in the northeast. If so, the North Korean nuclear test explosion would be the seventh of its kind and the first since 2017.

Last week, Kim Jong Un unveiled his most powerful nuclear response missiles targeting both the United States and its allies during a military parade in the capital Pyongyang. In a speech at the parade, Kim said he would develop weapons “at the fastest pace possible” and warned that North Korea would use nuclear weapons preemptively if national interests were threatened.

North Korea has previously unleashed a tough rhetoric that threatens to attack its rivals with nuclear weapons. However, the fact that Kim threatened himself in detail caused a security turmoil among some Koreans. Along with North Korea’s recent short-range nuclear missile tests, some experts say it will allow North Korea’s perhaps escalating nuclear doctrine to launch a preemptive nuclear attack on South Korea in some cases. I’m guessing.

The launch on Wednesday took place before South Korean President Yoon Seok-yul took office on May 10.

North Korea has a history of increasing hostility in weapons testing when Seoul and Washington launched a new government with explicit bids to increase leverage in future negotiations.

Yun’s Electricity Transition Bureau called the recent launch of North Korea a “serious provocation” and urged Pyongyang to raise tensions and stop threatening international peace. The Yun administration said it would work closely with the international community to respond strongly to North Korea’s provocation.

Some experts have focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and intensifying competition with China. The Biden administration’s passive treatment of North Korea leaves more room for North Korea to expand its military capabilities. Is given.

The Biden administration’s actions against North Korea have so far been limited primarily to symbolic sanctions and offers of unlimited parleys. North Korea, clearly referring to US-led international sanctions and US-Korea joint military exercises, said it must reject the government’s proposal for negotiations and first abandon its “hostile policy.”

Kim Hyun Jin, Kim Dong Hyun, Mari Yamaguchi

Associated Press