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PoliticsNorth Korea

North Korea launches suspected ballistic missiles into sea

April 22, 2024

Authorities in Japan and South Korea have reported what they suspect to be a North Korean missile launch.

A missile seen on a TV screen in Seoul
An image from a previous North Korean missile test in April shown at a Seoul train station Image: Ahn Young-joon/AP/picture alliance

South Korea's military reported the launch of what they suspected to be several short-range ballistic missiles by North Korea on Monday.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectiles landed in waters to the east. 

The projectiles appeared to have landed outside Japan's exclusive economic zone area, Japan's NHK broadcaster reported.

North Korea has been increasing its weapons testing as tensions with the South and the US remain high. Pyongyang is prohibited by UN resolutions from launching or testing ballistic missiles of any range. 

Tensions on the Korean peninsula

On Saturday, the North Korean military announced that it had tested a "super-large" cruise missile warhead and a new anti-aircraft missile on Friday in an area along its Western coast.

Leader Kim Jong Un has repeatedly stated his aim to build up a nuclear arsenal to ward off its "enemies," namely the US, South Korea and Japan.

The head of the US Space Command, General Stephen Whiting, was in South Korea on Monday to discuss surveillance of the North's satellite program.

Earlier this year, Pyongyang ended outreach programs that aimed to improve relations on the peninsula and threatened war over "even 0.001 mm" of territorial infringement. 

Ties between Pyongyang and Moscow

Kim's budding relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin has sparked concern that the two countries are supporting each other.

Pyongyang has been accused of supplying Moscow with weapons for its war in Ukraine. In return, analysts believe North Korea is getting help for its weapons programs, especially anti-aircraft technology.

The South has claimed that its northern neighbor has already sent around 7,000 containers of weapons to Russia to be used in Ukraine.

UN monitoring of North Korea's weapons programs, which checks for violations of the many sanctions against the country's nuclear ambitions, was effectively brought to an end in March when Russia used its Security Council veto.

North Korea tests intercontinental ballistic missile

ab/wmr (Reuters, AFP)