The military of South Korea reported that North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles toward the ocean off its east coast on Saturday. This was Pyongyang’s fourth launch in a week, which has increased tension on the Korean peninsula.
The launch follows US Vice-President Kamala Harris’ visit to the area this week and comes after trilateral anti-submarine exercises were conducted by the navies of South Korea, the US, and Japan on Friday for the first time in five years.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea stated in a statement that the two short-range missiles were fired from Sunan, which is located north of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. With a speed of Mach 6, it calculated the range to be 350 km at a height of 30 km.
This year, North Korea conducted a record number of weapons tests, and analysts believe the uptick in activity is related to the country’s efforts to develop its ballistic weapons capability as well as its desire to capitalize on international attention being diverted by the conflict in the Ukraine and other crises.
The United Nations Security Council has long prohibited North Korea from conducting nuclear tests and launching ballistic missiles.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said: “Despite North Korea’s domestic vulnerabilities and international isolation, it is swiftly modernizing weaponry and taking advantage of a world divided by US-China rivalry and Russia’s acquisition of more Ukrainian territory.”
“Going forward, the government will further strengthen the Korea-U.S. joint exercises, will respond strongly to North Korean provocations and threats by showing them the ‘Alliance in Action’,” Yoon said