Wednesday's launch was the country's first ballistic missile test in six months and violated several UN Security Council resolutions.
SEOUL - The Korea of Nord launched two ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, the first ballistic missile test in six months and a violation of several UN Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from performing such tests.
Hours after the launch of the missiles, South Korea announced that its president, Moon Jae-in, had just witnessed the test of the country's first submarine-launched ballistic missile, making South Korea the seventh country in the world to operate SLBM, after the United States United States, Russia, China, Great Britain, France and India.
The tests missiles by the two Koreas on the same day significantly highlighted the intensification of the arms race on the Korean Peninsula as nuclear disarmament talks between Washington and North Korea stalled. They also highlighted growing concern over regional stability, with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga calling the North Korean missile launch "scandalous " and a threat to peace.
In its announcement, South Korea revealed that it had successfully developed a supersonic cruise missile and a long-range air-to-land missile to be mounted on the KF-21, a South Korean supersonic fighter plane, and that it had developed a ballistic missile powerful enough to penetrate the underground war bunkers of North Korea.
The North's missile launch came a day after the US special envoy urged the country to resume nuclear disarmament talks, saying the United StatesThe United States had no "hostile" intentions towards Pyongyang. Neighboring countries have also stepped up efforts to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.
North Korea has led its previous ballistic missile test in March and tested what he called recently developed long-range cruise missiles during the weekend. The United States has failed to impose new sanctions in response to short-range ballistic missiles from the North in recent years. When North Korea resumed short-range ballistic missile testing in 2019, then President Donald J. Trump rejected them for their short range.
"Rather than strengthening sanctions and military exercises,the allies underlined a willingness for dialogue and humanitarian cooperation, ”said Leif-Eric Easley, professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. "The problem with the less-than-robust responses to North Korea's tests is that deterrence can be eroded as Pyongyang advances its capabilities and normalizes its provocations.
The Biden administration has said it will explore " practical "and " calibrated "diplomacy to achieve the goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has yet to respond to the invitation to dialogue.
The North Korean missiles, launched Wednesday from Yangdok in central countries, have traveled 497 miles. and reached an altitude of 37 miles before landing in the sea between North Korea and Japan, the South Korean military said. South Korean defense officialsand the US were analyzing the data collected during the test to determine exactly what type of ballistic missiles were used, he said.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense Defense issued a statement saying it "assumed" that the missile had not reached the territory of the country. its waters or exclusive economic zone.
News of the North Korean missile test broke shortly after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, North Korea's biggest supporter and only remaining major trading partner, finished a meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, in Seoul.
" It is not just North Korea, but also other countries participating in military activities, "Wang said when asked to comment on the cruise missile test by reporters. North during the weekend. " We dlet’s all work together to resume the dialogue. We all hope to contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. "
Mr. Wang did not specify, but the United States and South Korea conducted joint military exercises last month. North Korea has accused Washington and Seoul of preparing to invade the North and generally opposes joint military exercises between the two allies with its own military exercises. or weapon tests. Image Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul on Wednesday. Credit ... Yonhap, via Reuters
"The StatesThe United States has no hostile intentions towards North Korea, Sung Kim, the Biden administration's special envoy, said on Tuesday in Tokyo, where he met with officials from Japan and Korea. South Disk is using the North's arsenal. He said Washington hopes North Korea "responds positively to our multiple offers to meet without" missile preconditions "despite a series of Security Council resolutions. United Nations ban on North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula rose sharply in 2017 , when North Korea tested three intercontinental ballistic missiles and carried out its sixth underground nuclear test, leading to United Nations sanctions. After the tests, the country claimed the ability to target the continental United States with a nuclear warhead.
Mr. Trump has met with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, on three occasions between 2018 and 2019, but Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have not reached an agreement on the lifting of sanctions or the cancellation of the programs. nuclear and missiles from the North. Mr. Kim has since pledged to strengthen his country's weapons capabilities.
With recent tests, "North Korea is seeking to increase its influence in the upcoming negotiations "with Washington, said Lee Byong-chul, an expert on North Korea at the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University in Seoul.
In scheduling his last test at Mr. Wang's visit to Seoul, North Korea, also appeared to "express his displeasure with Beijing "for not providing enough economic aid during the coronavirus pandemic, Lee said. The economy of North Korea, already hit byr years of devastating international sanctions, suffered greatly from the fall in trade with China during the pandemic.
Motoko Rich contribution to Tokyo reports.