North Korea fired at least three short-range ballistic missiles on Saturday from a site south of Pyongyang, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The missiles were launched from the Chunghwa area of North Wanghee province at around 8 a.m. local time, with a maximum altitude of approximately 100 kilometres and a flight distance of roughly 350 kilometres. Japan’s Défense Ministry reported that the missiles fell into waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. This marks the 37th missile launch by North Korea this year, with a total of over 90 cruise and ballistic missiles fired in 2021. The frequency of these tests has escalated significantly, raising concerns in the Pacific region.
North Korea’s frequent missile launches have raised concerns among world leaders and experts about the country’s intentions and capabilities. The isolated nation has significantly increased its missile testing in recent years, conducting four tests in 2020 and more than doubling that number in 2021. At one point in 2022, North Korea launched 23 missiles in a single day, setting a new record for the country. These tests have showcased a range of weapons, including short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and what is believed to be a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile.
While North Korea has conducted missile tests in the past, the sheer frequency and scale of these recent launches have caused alarm in the international community. Some experts have warned that a nuclear test could be on the horizon, as North Korea continues to develop and showcase its weapons capabilities. The country’s actions have also strained relations with other nations, particularly with South Korea and the United States.
The international community has called on North Korea to halt its missile testing and return to diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. However, North Korea has shown little willingness to engage in such negotiations, and its leader, Kim Jong Un, has vowed to continue expanding the country’s military capabilities. The situation remains tense, with the potential for further escalation if North Korea continues with its missile launches.