North Korea launches its second ballistic missile in six days | International
North Korea launched its second missile in just six days into the Sea of Japan on Tuesday, according to South Korean and Japanese military authorities. South Korean intelligence services estimate that it is a “more advanced” projectile than last Wednesday.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff believes that the projectile launched this Tuesday is a ballistic missile and that it was fired from the northern province of Jagang around 7.27 in the morning (23.27 on Monday in Madrid) in the direction of the East Sea (as the Sea of Japan is known in the two Koreas). He estimates the missile’s flight range at more than 700 kilometers, with a maximum height of about 60 kilometers, and that it reached a maximum speed of Mach 10 (ten times the speed of sound).
This new display of power from Pyongyang reaffirms the message sent in the New Year by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, in which he promised to “boost the country’s defense capabilities” to “counteract the unstable international situation.”
Seoul and Tokyo have been quick to condemn the launch as a clear violation of resolutions passed since 2006 by the United Nations Security Council, which prohibit Pyongyang from developing and using ballistic missile technology.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has expressed concern that North Korea will carry out these tests at a time when the region needs “stability.” Seoul is concerned about the frequency of them and that they occur three weeks before the start of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing and less than two months before the South Korean general elections. It has also asked the Government to draw up a series of measures to prevent future tensions in relations with its neighbor to the north.
Tuesday’s launch comes a day after the UN Security Council held a closed-door meeting to discuss last week’s North Korean maneuvers. The meeting was preceded by a statement from the United States, seconded by France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Albania and Japan, in which the essay was crossed out as a “significant threat to regional stability” and Pyongyang was urged to dialogue. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stressed that the launch “shows North Korea’s determination to expand its illegal armed capabilities.”
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Last Thursday, North Korea reported through the state news agency KCNA that it had fired a new hypersonic missile the day before that traveled about 700 kilometers and made a turn of 120 kilometers. The South Korean Defense Ministry, however, described these claims as “exaggerated” and assured that, although the projectile showed some characteristics of a hypersonic missile, it cannot be technically qualified as such. Seoul also doubted that the North Korean regime has acquired the necessary technology to transport hypersonic weapons.
Also, last September, Pyongyang launched its first hypersonic missile, the Hwsong-8. As the KCNA specified at the time, it was “one of the five most important new weapons systems” included in the five-year plan, which will run the country’s economy until 2025. In addition to the launch of the Hwsong-8, North Korea carried out another seven Military trials that garnered attention in the West, including maneuvers with long-range cruise missiles, with a projectile fired from a train and from a submarine.
Despite the fact that the North Korean regime is developing projectiles capable of tracing irregular trajectories, which hinder the work of radars and pose a challenge for anti-missile shields, the Joint Chiefs of Staff has communicated that the South Korean Army can “detect and intercept them.”
Moon Jae-in’s efforts to sign a declaration ending the Korean War (1950-1953) – which concluded with the signing of an armistice instead of a peace treaty – seem not to resonate across the 38th Parallel. , while Kim Jong-un has rejected invitations from the US Administration of Joe Biden to try to reactivate the denuclearization negotiations, stalled since the failed Hanoi summit in 2019.