A suspected ballistic missile was fired by North Korea, less than one week after it rolled out what it asserted was a hypersonic missile.
South Korea stated that it discovered the rollout at 07:27 local time on Tuesday (22:27 GMT on Monday).
The launch was also reported by Japan’s coast guard, stating that North Korea had fired a “ballistic missile-like object”.
It arrives rightly following a statement issued by six countries requesting the North to stop its “destabilizing actions”.
South Korea’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCS) said “Our military detected a suspected ballistic missile fired by North Korea from land towards the East Sea,”, adding further that intelligence officials from South Korea and the United States were underway organizing an elaborate study.
The recent rollout underscores North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s promise to boost the country’s protection as part of its policy priorities for this year, which was pointed out during an important meeting in December.
On Monday, the United States mission to the United Nations, joined by France, the Irish Republic, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Albania, released a joint statement criticizing last week’s apparent test.
US ambassador told the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield “These actions increase the risk of miscalculation and escalation and pose a significant threat to regional stability,”
The panel asked North Korea “to refrain from further destabilizing actions… and engage in meaningful dialogue towards our shared goal of complete denuclearisation.”
Another Test – but Why Now?
North Korea has entered the new year with two missile tests in rapid succession.
Today’s test could be scheduled to coincide with a UN Security Council conference in New York – where the United States and its allies criticized last week’s rollout.
But it could also serve several other functions.
One could be to deviate public attention from a growing critical economic condition in the nation, which has been even intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another reason could be to obtain the attention of Washington, which has expressed slight interest in restarting negotiations with Pyongyang following the unsuccessful summit between former President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un back in 2019.
The third reason could be, which is reported less frequently. North and South Korea are involved in what observers claim is a growing deep arms race, with both sides working to perfect smaller, more appropriate, and more deadly missile systems with which they can make threats to each other’s leadership.
The most recent tests turn out as Pyongyang struggles with a lack of food as a result of a coronavirus pandemic that has impacted its economy adversely.
During the end-of-year meeting of the ruling party, Mr. Kim stated that the nation was going through a “great life-and-death struggle”, continuing that rising development and enhancing people’s standards of living were part of this year’s objectives.
Previously, UN officials had cautioned that weak children and elderly people in North Korea were susceptible to malnourishment.
The United States has been asking for North Korea to knock off its nuclear weapons, and so far, Pyongyang’s relationship with President Joe Biden’s administration has been stuffed with tension.
Additionally, North Korea has perpetually blamed South Korea for double standards on its military activities.
In recent times, South Korea tested its first submarine-released inflamed missile, which it claimed was required as a defense against North Korea’s “provocations”.