North Korea has fired at least two ballistic missiles from its eastern coast, the South Korean army and the Japanese coast guard said on Wednesday. Pyongyang’s missile test occurred just a few hours before the expected meeting of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
No details were given about the type or range of the missile, but – as Reuters notes – about five minutes after issuing a warning about Pyongyang’s missile launch, the Japanese Coast Guard reported that the missile had fallen into the water.
The attempt occurred just hours before the expected meeting of North Korean leaders Russia. Tuesday morning Kim Jong Un arrived by armored train at the station in Ussuriysk in the Russian Far East. Kim will probably meet Putin in Vladivostok in the near future. As Western analysts and journalists assume, the topic of the talks will be the supply of North Korean weapons to Russia, mainly artillery shells.
North Korean missile tests
Armed with nuclear weapons North Korea regularly conducts missile tests, from short-range and cruise missiles to intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Pyongyang conducted more than 30 such tests last year, far more than in any other year.
North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs have been banned by the Security Council UN. Intercontinental missiles are particularly concerning due to their long range, which includes, among others: continental United Statesall over Europe and Australia.
In 2018-2019, North Korea conducted negotiations with the US regarding denuclearization and the easing of sanctions imposed on it, but they ended in failure. In 2022, Pyongyang announced that its nuclear arsenal would no longer be the subject of negotiations.
Main photo source: Reuters