At the start of the New Year, North Korea reportedly fired a ballistic missile and landed it in the East Sea or the Sea of Japan.
Fired from land, it is said to be smaller than previous launches to demonstrate military might while avoiding major economic sanctions.
Despite a continually starving population, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has repeatedly vowed to strengthen defense capabilities.
The North tested a large number of missiles over the past year as talks with South Korea and the US stalled.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense said the latest missile flew about 500 kilometers, but that was far less than its real capacity.
Since 2017, the north has launched missiles that can reach most of the US mainland.
the Hwasong 14 and 15 missiles surprised many ballistics experts and signaled a big leap forward in Kim Jong-uns defensive technology.
Does North Korea Have Nuclear Weapons?
North Korea has nuclear weapons and has successfully tested a thermonuclear bomb six times stronger than the one that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
They also have an estimated 40 nuclear warheads. These can be carried by missiles that could easily reach Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
Some Military experts have warned that they may have technology that will make them maneuverable in mid-flight and therefore harder to spot.
North Korea regularly blatantly violates UN Security Council resolutions, but has drawn attention to hypocrisy.
Their neighbor South Korea launched ballistic missiles from a submarine in September 2021, making it the first nation to do so without nuclear weapons.
Southern President Moon Jae-in said the test was “not a response to North Korea” but noted that “adding to our missile capabilities can be a clear deterrent to North Korea’s provocations”.
South Korea, a longtime U.S. ally, has the ability to make a nuclear warhead, but has chosen not to.
Concerned about peace in the region, the top candidate of the People Power Party 2022, Yoon Seok-youl, has declared that he will call on the US to re-use tactical nuclear weapons in the south.
After the talks between then President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un failed in 2019 despite many promises, tensions have steadily increased.