North Korea has fired another unidentified projectile into the sea. The South Korean military made the announcement on Wednesday.
The projectile, believed to be a ballistic missile, flew toward the Baltic Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. The Japanese government in Tokyo also spoke of a “suspected ballistic missile”.
The projectile was fired into the sea east of the peninsula, South Korean armed forces chiefs of staff said. No further details were given. Last week, leader Kim Jong Un had already shown his willingness to strengthen his country’s military capacity.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea’s self-proclaimed nuclear power from testing ballistic missiles, but the country pays little attention to this. In 2021, North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a new type of ballistic missile, a long-range missile and a hypersonic warhead. The country is subject to severe international sanctions because of its nuclear weapons program.
Negotiations between North Korea and the US over nuclear weapons have broken down after the meeting between Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump in 2019. Since President Joe Biden came to power, the US has repeatedly stated its willingness to engage in dialogue deal with Pyongyang, but that offer was turned down each time.
The economy of sanctions-impoverished North Korea is also suffering from rigid, self-imposed isolation due to COVID-19. However, the deteriorating economic situation during the pandemic has not weakened the country’s weapons programs. On the contrary, North Korea has accelerated weapons development, according to a UN report in October.
International concern has grown over a food crisis in North Korea. In October, a UN human rights expert warned that the most vulnerable in the country “is at risk of starvation”.