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N. Korea fires two SRBMs over East Sea overnight

Posted October. 10, 2022 08:02,   

Updated October. 10, 2022 08:02


North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea in the wee hours of Sunday-a sudden provocation committed one day before the anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). The regime fired missiles late at night for the first time in three years and two months. Recently, it has carried out as many as seven missile provocations in half a month in six regions, including the firing in Moonchon, Gangwon Province of North Korea. North Korean Kim Jong Un has presumably designed a series of missile tests to show off the regime's tactical capabilities that enable missile firing anytime, anywhere at its convenience, explicitly increasing tension on the Korean peninsula.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed that North Korea fired the first of two SRBMs in the Moonchon area at 1:48 a.m., with the second flown 10 minutes or so later. The missiles assumed the KN-25 super-large multiple rocket launcher. They flew 350 kilometers into the East Sea at an altitude of 90 kilometers, a speed of Mach 5, according to the South Korean military. However, Japan's Defense Ministry is looking into the possibility of firing any submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The latest North Korean missile provocation executed late the night before Sunday's was done in August 2019 when the regime fired projectiles from Yongheung, South Hamgyong Province. Over the recent firings, North Korea intended to display its strike capabilities that may attack not only South Korea but also Japan and Guam (unincorporated territory of the United States) by using a mix of the KN-25, the North Korean version of Iskander (KN-23) and the intermediate-range ballistic missile Hwasong-15. The recent missile provocation is interpreted as a military countermeasure taken with in mind that the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) returned to the Korean Peninsula. In response to North Korea's IRBM provocations, the CVN-76 returned on Wednesday to participate in the joint military drills between Seoul and Washington from Friday to Saturday. “We, capably armed, keep a close eye on the situation,” a spokesperson for the North Korean Defense Ministry said inconveniently on Saturday.

The presidential National Security Council (NSC) strongly condemned in a standing committee meeting on Sunday that North Korea's launch of two SRBMs not only flagrantly violates the UNSC resolutions but also elevates tension on the Korean peninsula and beyond. Asked by The Dong-A Ilbo that day, the U.S. Defense Department replied that the region is held accountable for a breach of the UNSC resolutions and a threat to its neighbors and the international community.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com