North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles amid first virus outbreak

Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) – North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles toward the sea on Thursday, its neighbors said, the latest in a series of weapons demonstrations. Another one this year that came just hours after his first case of coronavirus was confirmed Ever since the pandemic started.

The launch rallied behind North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, to step up his efforts to expand his arsenal despite the virus outbreak and remains determined to keep pressure on his rivals amid long-dormant nuclear diplomacy. Can outline resolution.

Thursday’s launch was the North’s first weapon since the inauguration of newly conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Tuesday.

North Korea has a history of expelling new governments in an apparent bid to boost its bargaining chips in future talks in Seoul and Washington. North Korea’s nuclear threat will likely top the agenda when Yun meets with US President Joe Biden in Seoul next week.

South Korea, Japan and the US condemned the weapons tests, which were launched from the north’s capital region on Thursday afternoon.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan condemned the launch when he spoke on the phone with his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-han, according to a White House statement. The two also discussed President Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea next week, Biden’s first visit to an Asian country during his presidency. Biden is also scheduled to visit Japan during this whirlwind tour.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles went overboard on North Korea’s east coast and outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. There were no reports of damage to aircraft or ships.

South Korea’s military said it increased its readiness and surveillance while maintaining close coordination with the United States. It called on North Korea to immediately stop the repeated missile firing.

South Korea and Japan issued similar flight details, stating that the weapons traveled approximately 350–360 kilometers (217–224 mi) at a maximum altitude of 90–100 kilometers (56–62 mi).

Earlier on Thursday, North Korean state media confirmed the country’s first COVID-19 infection since Kim ordered a nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the virus. Kim also ordered officials to strengthen the country’s defense posture to avoid any security vacuum.

In recent months, North Korea has launched a test-launch of missiles that experts call an attempt to modernize its weapons and has accused the United States and its allies of accepting it as a nuclear state and easing sanctions on the North. exert pressure. Some observers say that despite advanced anti-virus steps, North Korea will continue to build up its arsenal with weapons tests to boost public morale and bolster loyalty to the Kim leadership.

“North Korea’s latest missile firing appears to be an overdose of testing and improving military capabilities,” said Professor Leif-Erik Easley of Iwa University in Seoul. “These launches look like a show of strength after the Kim regime publicly admitted to the coronavirus outbreak.”

A statement issued after a meeting chaired by Yoon’s National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han said South Korea is seeking “practical” and “tough” measures in cooperation with the international community to respond to the growing North Korean threat. Will do

Recently tested North Korean weapons include a variety of nuclear-capable missiles that could potentially reach South Korea, Japan or the mainland US In March, North Korea with its largest-ever missile launch in 2018. The giant has since abolished its self-imposed suspension on weapons testing. Capable of reaching the entirety of the American homeland.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed generally punitive sanctions on North Korea after conducting nuclear and long-range missile tests. But that didn’t happen in March as members who used the veto are divided over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Last Saturday, South Korea explored the possibility of a North Korean ballistic missile launch from a submarine, its first such test since last October. There are also signs the North is preparing to conduct its first nuclear test in nearly five years at a remote test ground in its northeast.


Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.



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