North Korea has fired a suspected ballistic missile on Thursday, March 24, 2022, which shows continuous weapons testing blitz that could reach a point of highest development with a major, long-range missile launch, according to Seoul (capital of South Korea) and Tokyo.
South Korea and the United States recently warned that Pyongyang (capital of North Korea) may be preparing to test-fire an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) at full range for the first time since 2017.
Such testing was paused while North Korea Leader, Kim Jong Un, embarked on high-profile negotiations with then-US President, Donald Trump, but the talks collapsed in 2019 and diplomacy stalled since.
Despite biting international sanctions over its weapon programs, Pyongyang is has decided to strengthen Kim’s drive to modernise its military. As a result, North Korea, last week conducted a failed test of what analysts suspect is a new, long-range ICBM.
According to South Korea’s Military on Thursday, March 24, 2022, it detected “an unidentified projectile launched into the East Sea” without offering further detail.
A news agency reported that it is a “suspected long-range ballistic missile”, citing Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
An expert’s point of view
A Spokesman at Tokyo’s (Japan’s capital) Defence Ministry disclosed that “an object that could be a ballistic missile was launched from North Korea”, with Japan’s Coastguard issuing emergency warnings to vessels in the area.
“Pyongyang attempted to fire an ICBM at the Sunan airport last week but failed,” Go Myong-hyun, a Senior Researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies pointed out.
“So it carried out today’s launch to make up for that failure and because it has to complete the ICBM technology right away.”Go Myong-hyun, a Senior Researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies
The North’s State Media has decided to stay mum on the launch, but Analysts have suggested it is of Pyongyang’s so-called “monster missile“, the Hwasong 17, which is a new ICBM system that has never been launched before.
North Korea will mark the 110th anniversary of the birth of Founder, Kim Il Sung, on April 15, 2022, and Analysts predict Pyongyang will conduct an ICBM or satellite launch as part of the celebrations.
Any such launch would mark the end of Pyongyang’s self-imposed moratorium on testing long-range and nuclear weapons, and as well, send military tensions soaring on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
“If today’s launch turns out to be an ICBM, it would signal an end to the moratorium. That’s for sure,” Analyst Go Myong-hyun said.
“But the moratorium was virtually scrapped when the North carried out tests for space launch vehicles. And what is also key is whether Pyongyang will make today’s launch official.”Go Myong-hyun, a Senior Researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies
The North has carried out three ICBM tests, the last in November 2017, a Hwasong-15, which was deemed powerful enough to reach the continental United States.