North Korea has launched what may be its first ballistic missile of the New Year. An “unknown projectile” is reportedly set to be fired off its east coast to increase tension in the region
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North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile off its east coast in the first year of the new year.
The Japanese Coast Guard announced on Wednesday that the nuclear-armed state had launched a ballistic missile for the first time.
“North Korea has fired rockets again and again since last year, which is very unfortunate,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after the start.
An “unidentified projectile” was fired from North Korea in the direction of the East Sea, reported South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff.
There are no reports of damage or injury.
Days after Leader Kim Jong Un vowed to develop the military to face an unstable international situation.
United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit all ballistic missile testing by North Korea and have imposed sanctions on the programs.
North Korea is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons program, but it has become even more isolated since the beginning of the pandemic, imposing border barriers that have slowed trade and stifled all personal diplomatic obligations.
It has also maintained a self-imposed moratorium on testing its largest ICBMs (ICBMs) or nuclear weapons. The last ICBM or atomic bomb tests were in 2017, before Kim launched a diplomatic overture to the US and South Korea that has since stalled.
However, the country continued to test new short-range ballistic missiles, including one last October, as tensions in the region simmer.
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The rogue state was testing a new type of anti-submarine-launched ballistic missile, adding to its concerns about its technological advances in difficult-to-intercept weapons.
Pyongyang has continued to develop its weapons program amid a stalemate over talks to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in exchange for easing US sanctions.
Analysts say North Korea is trying to normalize its defense activities in order to eventually gain international acceptance of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile arsenals.
Much of North Korea’s large conventional artillery power is stationed along the fortified border with South Korea, where it can extend into the densely populated capital Seoul.
At a regular press conference on Monday, US State Department spokesman Ned Price reiterated US desire for a dialogue with North Korea aimed at increasing the security of the United States and its allies in the region.
He reiterated that Washington had no hostile intentions towards North Korea and was ready to meet without preconditions.