North Korea fires more missiles as US carrier: North Korea responded to the redeployment of a US aircraft carrier near the Korean peninsula in response to Pyongyang’s flight of a nuclear-capable missile over Japan by firing two short-range ballistic missiles towards its eastern waters on Thursday.
Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, appears determined to continue missile tests aimed at expanding his nuclear arsenal, despite international sanctions. Experts believe that Kim wants to be recognized as a legitimate nuclear state by the United States and for sanctions to be lifted, but the international community is not moving in that direction.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement saying the latest missiles were fired 22 minutes apart from the North Korean capital and fell between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. With an apogee of 80 kilometers (50 mi), the first rocket traveled 350 kilometers (217 mi) and the second rocket traveled 800 kilometers (497 mi).
Yasukazu Hamada, Japan’s defense minister, claims that the missiles did not enter Japan’s EEZ, and the facts from the flights confirm this. He further speculated that the second missile may have had “irregular” flight path.
A North Korean weapon based on the Russian Iskander missile is known by this name. It is capable of flying at low altitudes and is designed to be maneuverable in flight 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 immediate threat to the United States or its allies, they stressed “destabilizing effect” of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, as stated by the United States Indo-Pacific Command.
North Korea’s ongoing launches are “absolutely unbearable”, as stated by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who was due to speak with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol later Thursday to discuss the threat from the North.
According to Yoon’s office, Director of National Security Kim Sung-Han discussed launching an emergency security meeting in which members discussed plans to prepare for further military action by North Korea, including military provocations.
North Korea has carried out a record number of missile launches this year and the tests, their sixth in less than two weeks, have drawn widespread international condemnation. According to South Korean officials, the North could soon escalate tensions by testing an intercontinental ballistic missile or by carrying out its first nuclear test since 2017 and seventh overall.
In its most provocative weapons display of 2017, North Korea fired an intermediate-range missile over Japan on Tuesday, prompting the Japanese government to issue evacuation warnings and halt trains.
The weapon was most certainly a Hwasong-12 missile, experts say, capable of striking targets as far away as US territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. United States military bases in South Korea have been among the targets of already tested ballistic weapons such as the Iskander-class missiles.
Thursday’s launches coincided with the return of the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to waters east of South Korea, a move the South Korean military described as an attempt to demonstrate that the partners “strong will” to combat the continuous provocations and threats of the North.
The carrier was in the region last week to take part in South Korean-US military exercises and other allied training involving Japan. As a rehearsal for an invasion, North Korea sees this kind of US-led exercises near the peninsula, especially training with a US aircraft carrier, as particularly provocative.
The repositioning of Reagan’s strike force postures “a serious threat to the stability of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity,” said a statement released Thursday by North Korea’s foreign ministry.
The North’s recent missile tests were justified as “fair countermeasures” for joint US-South Korean maneuvers, but the ministry strongly condemned US-led efforts to strengthen sanctions against the North at the UN Security Council.
Following North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range missile, the United States and South Korea conducted their own live-fire drills using surface-to-surface ballistic missiles and precision-guided bombs dropped by fighter jets.
However, a faulty South Korean Hyumoo-2 missile nearly caused tragedy early Wednesday when it flipped after launch and fell to the ground at an air force facility in the eastern coastal city of Gangneung. They said no civilians were injured and no infrastructure was damaged, as reported by the South Korean military.
The United States, Britain, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council after North Korea’s launch on Tuesday. But Wednesday’s debate ended in a deadlock, underscoring growing disagreement 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 as putting the citizens of neighboring Gangneung at risk.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 against North Korea’s actions was due to US-led military exercises nearby.
The United States and its allies have expressed concern that the Security Council’s failure to reach a consensus on North Korea’s record number of missile launches this year is giving North Korea confidence and weakening the authority of the United Nations’ most powerful body.
With negotiations with the United States at a standstill and Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, North Korea has broken out of this year’s diplomatic impasse and launched opportunities to rapidly advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.