North Korea launches ballistic missile, says South

SEOUL – North Korea launched a ballistic missile off its east coast on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, days after the leader ...


SEOUL – North Korea launched a ballistic missile off its east coast on Wednesday, the South Korean military said, days after the leader of the North, Kim Jong-un, noted his country is expected to focus on boosting food production in the new year while continuing to build military might.

The South Korean military said its analysts and U.S. officials were studying the trajectory and other flight data of the North Korean missile to find out more.

When North Korea last drive a missile test, on October 19, it tested a newly developed submarine-launched ballistic missile off its east coast in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions banning the country from developing or testing ballistic missiles or nuclear devices.

“It is truly unfortunate that North Korea has launched missiles several times since last year,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday. “The Japanese government will step up alerting and surveillance more than ever.”

North Korea has not tested any long-range missile that could directly threaten the continental United States since it conducted three intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2017. But since Mr. Kim’s diplomacy with the president Donald J. Trump collapsed in 2019, the country resumed testing mainly of short-range missiles, including those launched from trains coming out of tunnels.

These tests indicated that the North was developing more sophisticated means of delivering nuclear and other warheads to South Korea, Japan and US bases, defense analysts said. Some of the missiles he has tested since 2019 used solid fuel and maneuvered in the air, making them more difficult to intercept, defense analysts said.

After the ICBM tests in 2017, Kim claimed his country had the capacity to launch a nuclear strike against the continental United States. Then he met with Mr. Trump three times between 2018 and 2019 to push the United States to relax sanctions imposed under UN Security Council resolutions.

Kim-Trump diplomacy collapsed without a deal on either canceling the North’s nuclear weapons program or lifting international sanctions imposed on the country. Since then, North Korea has said it will no longer engage in dialogue with Washington unless the United States changes its “hostile policy,” including joint military exercises with South Korea and international sanctions. .

At a five-day Workers’ Party meeting that ended on December 31 in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, Kim said his country should focus on reducing the country’s chronic food shortages – a problem he inherited from Kim Jong-il, his father and predecessor, who died 10 years ago, and has not yet fixed.

But he also said the conditions demanded that “the strengthening of the state’s defense capacity be further propelled with power without a single moment.”

Northern state media reports of the party meeting made no mention of any diplomatic overtures to the United States or South Korea, indicating that the country would continue to stick to its “d ‘self-sufficiency’.

North Korea remains extremely suspicious of any contact with the outside world during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Motoko Rich contributed to Tokyo reporting.

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Newsrust - US Top News: North Korea launches ballistic missile, says South
North Korea launches ballistic missile, says South
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