Thu, August 11, 2022


N. Korea fires unidentified projectile eastward: S. Korean military

North Korea fired an apparent ballistic missile toward the East Sea on Sunday, South Korea's military said, in the recalcitrant regime's eighth show of force this year.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from in and around the Sunan area in Pyongyang at 7:52 a.m. It did not elaborate.

The latest launch, the first in just under a month, came in the midst of the armed conflict in Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the country last week.

"Currently, our military is keeping close tabs on the possibility of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

The North conducted seven rounds of missile tests last month alone, including an intermediate-range ballistic missile launch on Jan. 30.

Following the latest test-firing, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae convened a standing committee session of its National Security Council presided over by National Security Office chief Suh Hoon.

Speculation has lingered that the North could engage in more provocative actions down the road as it issued a veiled threat last month to lift its yearslong self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

Pyongyang appeared to have refrained from additional missile tests during the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Beijing, its traditional ally and key economic supporter.

Park Won-gon, professor of North Korea studies at Ewha Womans University, said that the latest missile launch signals it could continue to routinize military provocations as "self-defense" measures in line with its defense development plan marked by weapons modernization schemes.

"The missile test is an expected step. It is a resumption of launches the North had refrained from during the Beijing Olympics," Park said.

"Should South Korea and the international community take issue with the launch, it might strongly protest it, calling the protest an application of 'double standards,'" he added.

The Kim Jong-un regime is seeking to strengthen internal solidarity amid a deadlock in nuclear talks with Washington and economic woes aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Korea Herald

Published : February 27, 2022