North Korea released another today ballistic missilejust four days before the presidential elections in the South, and seems to insist on the plans to develop new weapons that it agreed to at the last congress of the single party, which also raises fears of the possibility that it will soon carry out a nuclear test.
“Our military detected a projectile believed to be a ballistic missile launched into the East Sea (the name given to the Sea of Japan in the two Koreas) from around Sunan around 8:48 a.m. (23:48 GMT on Friday),” reads the statement. statement sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to journalists. Sunan is the district of Pyongyang which houses the city’s international airport and is the place from which the regime launched another ballistic missile less than a week ago.
“The flight range of the ballistic missile launched this time is estimated to be about 270 kilometers with a maximum altitude of about 560 kilometers, and intelligence officials from the Republic of Korea (official name of South Korea) and the United States they are carefully analyzing the detailed specifications”, adds the text.
The Japanese government said for its part that it also believes that what was launched today is a ballistic missile, just like last week, and that the projectile seems to have fallen Outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)to.
The flight characteristics are very similar to those of the previous Sunday’s test, which the regime claimed to have carried out as part of the development of a reconnaissance satelliteand appear to correspond to an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) launched at a very wide angle to trace a very steep parabola.
with this release there are already nine, a record figure, the essays of this type carried out this year by the North Korean regime, which has said it is promoting the development of a series of weapons agreed upon at the last congress of the Workers’ Party.
In addition to the aforementioned satellite, the North Korean single party conclave held in January 2021 called for the development of longer range ballistic missiles that work with solid fuel, nuclear-powered submarines, more sophisticated drones or hypersonic missiles, which the regime has been testing since last year.
Most experts consider that this latest string of tests carried out since January does not seek to influence South Korean voters, who in four days must choose who will be their new president for the next five years, but is related to the deadlines that have been set. marked Pionyang to improve its arsenal according to what was approved in the aforementioned congress. That did not prevent the presidential office in Seoul from convening today a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) to analyze the release.
The participants condemned “North Korea’s unprecedented repeated launches of ballistic missiles, contrary to the demands of the international community for peace and stability and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” according to a statement published at the end of the meeting.
Unlike its most recent meetings, the NSC warned today that North Korea’s weapons facilities, “particularly Yongbyon and Punggye-ri,” will be closely “monitored.” The first place (located about 100 kilometers north of Pyongyang) is the main atomic research center of the regime and recent satellite images confirm that the Yongbyon facilities continue to function to process nuclear fuel and obtain plutonium that can be used for bombs.
In turn, Punggye-ri (northeast of the country) is the underground test center where North Korea has carried out its six atomic tests to date (the last one in September 2017) and leader Kim Jong-un announced its closure after of his first summit with then US President Donald Trump in June 2018.
The stagnation of the dialogue with the US, in a deadlock since 2019, and the proximity of two indicated dates (April 15, when the 110th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder is celebrated, and May 10, when the new southern president takes office) raise fears that Pyongyang decides to detonate an atomic bomb for the first time in five years.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.