North Korea Launches More Missiles As US Carrier: North Korea responded to a redeployment of an American aircraft carrier near the Korean Peninsula in reaction to Pyongyang’s flight of a nuclear-capable missile over Japan by firing two short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters on Thursday.
Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, appears determined to continue missile tests aimed at expanding his nuclear arsenal in defiance of international sanctions. Experts believe Kim wants to be recognized as a legitimate nuclear state by the United States and have the sanctions lifted, but the international community isn’t moving in that direction.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement saying the most recent missiles were launched 22 minutes apart from the North’s capital region and landed between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. With an apogee of 80 kilometers (50 miles), the first missile traveled 350 kilometers (217 miles), and the second missile traveled 800 kilometers (497 miles).
Yasukazu Hamada, Japan’s Minister of Defense, claimed that the missiles had not entered the Japanese EEZ, and the facts of the flights corroborated this. In addition, he speculated that the second missile may have had an “irregular” path of flight.
A North Korean weapon based on the Russian Iskander missile is known by this name. It is capable of flying at low altitudes and has been designed to be maneuverable in flight in order to increase its chances of evading missile defenses.
The South Korean military has announced that it has increased its surveillance efforts and is always prepared thanks to its close cooperation with the United States. While the launches did not pose an imminent threat to the United States or its allies, they did highlight the “destabilizing impact” of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as stated by the United States Indo-Pacific Command.
North Korea’s continued launches are “absolutely intolerable,” as stated by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who was scheduled to speak with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol later on Thursday to discuss the North’s threat.
According to Yoon’s office, National Security Director Kim Sung-Han discussed the launch at an emergency security meeting where members discussed plans to prepare for further North Korean hostilities, including military provocations.
North Korea has conducted a record number of missile launches this year, and these tests, their sixth in less than two weeks, have drawn widespread international condemnation. According to South Korean officials, the North may soon escalate tensions by testing an intercontinental ballistic missile or by conducting its first nuclear test explosion since 2017 and seventh overall.
In its most provocative weapons display since 2017, North Korea launched an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Tuesday, prompting the Japanese government to issue evacuation alerts and halt trains.
The weapon was most certainly a Hwasong-12 missile, according to experts, which can hit targets as far away as the American territory of Guam in the Pacific. The United States military bases in South Korea were among the targets of previously tested ballistic weapons such as the Iskander-type missiles.
Thursday’s launches coincided with the return of the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to waters east of South Korea, a move the South Korean military described as an attempt to demonstrate the partners’ “strong will” to fight the North’s continuous provocations and threats.
Last week, the carrier was in the region to participate in South Korean-American military drills and other allied training that included Japan. As an invasion rehearsal, North Korea sees this kind of U.S.-led drills near the peninsula, especially training with a U.S. carrier as particularly provocative.
The repositioning of the Reagan strike group poses “a severe threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean peninsula and in its environs,” the North Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement released on Thursday.
The North’s recent missile tests have been justified as a “fair counteraction” to joint U.S.-South Korean maneuvers, but the ministry has severely condemned U.S.-led efforts to strengthen sanctions on the North at the U.N. Security Council.
After North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range missile, the United States and South Korea conducted their own live-fire drills, using land-to-land ballistic missiles and precision-guided bombs dropped from fighter jets.
However, a defective South Korean Hyumoo-2 missile nearly created a tragedy early on Wednesday when it flipped after launch and plummeted into the ground at an air force facility in the eastern coastal city of Gangneung. They said no civilians were harmed and no infrastructure was damaged, as reported by the South Korean military.
The United States, Britain, France, Albania, Norway, and Ireland all requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council following North Korea’s launch on Tuesday. However, the debate on Wednesday ended in deadlock, highlighting the growing rift among the council’s permanent members over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
A Hyunmoo-2 missile tested by the South Korean military failed after launch on Wednesday.
Lawmakers from both parties criticized the launch for putting neighboring Gangneung citizens in danger.https://t.co/2eqWUxPdMY
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) October 6, 2022
During the discussion, Russia and China insisted to their fellow Security Council members that the United States’ provocation of North Korea’s action was due to U.S.-led military drills in the vicinity.
Concern was voiced by the United States and its allies that the Security Council’s inability to achieve a consensus on North Korea’s record number of missile launches this year was giving North Korea confidence and weakening the authority of the United Nations’ most powerful body.
With talks with the United States at a standstill and Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, North Korea has taken this year’s diplomatic impasse and launched opportunities to rapidly advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.