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North Korea tests short-range ballistic missiles

North Korea tests short-range ballistic missiles Illustrative photo (Getty Images)

On Monday, April 22, North Korea conducted a test launch of alleged short-range ballistic missiles at sea. At the same time, North Korea may soon launch a banned satellite into orbit, reports The Washington Post.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that the weapon, launched from the North Korean capital, flew about 300 kilometers before falling into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Judging by the flight range, the weapon could have been aimed at targets in South Korea.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff strongly condemned the launches, saying they were a "clear provocation" that threatened peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff also stated that it will maintain readiness to "overwhelmingly" respond to North Korea's provocations following its military alliance with the United States.

For its part, the office of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said it had instructed officials to collect information about the launch and ensure the safety of aircraft and ships. The Japanese Coast Guard urged ships to be cautious of falling objects and to notify authorities if they notice anything suspicious.

In recent months, North Korea has been conducting weapons tests at an accelerated pace, continuing to build up its military capabilities, while diplomatic relations with the United States and South Korea have reached a deadlock.

According to observers, North Korea probably believes that its modernized weapons arsenal will enable it to obtain greater concessions from the United States in the event of a resumption of negotiations.

North Korean missile tests

On April 2, North Korea fired another ballistic missile, aiming it toward the Sea of Japan. This move immediately drew condemnation from Japan, which reminded North Korea of UN Security Council resolutions prohibiting such tests.

According to some experts, the missile launch may be part of North Korea's strategy to obtain ballistic missile technology from Russia in exchange for its weapons.

In addition to the launch, it became known that North Korea conducted ground tests of a solid-fuel engine for a new type of medium-range hypersonic missile. These tests were reportedly successful and allowed Pyongyang to accelerate the development of hypersonic weapons.

North Korea has also confirmed its plan to launch several spy satellites by the end of this year after the first spy satellite was launched in November 2023.