President Moon claims that the missile test was conducted as a form of ‘deterrence’ for North Korea.
The presidential office said that South Korea performed its first submarine-launched ballistic missile test on Wednesday in front of President Moon Jae-in and other country officials. The test, which Moon described as “a sure deterrent against North Korean provocation” and carried out using a domestically-built missile that successfully met its target, would operate as “a sure deterrent against North Korean aggression,” according to the presidential office.
According to the Associated Press, South Korea’s missile launch happened just hours after its northern neighbor conducted its own. According to the South Korean and Japanese forces, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles that traveled 500 miles before landing in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the sea.
While the missiles did not land in Japanese territorial seas, the Associated Press noted that a North Korean missile had not landed in the area since October 2019. The rival weapons displays, which come two days after the North announced it had conducted its first weapons test in six months with a new cruise missile, have the potential to exacerbate tensions between the two countries, which are already strained due to the suspension of talks on the North’s nuclear program.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Experts believe North Korea is beefing up its military systems in order to exert pressure on the US in exchange for relaxation from sanctions aimed at getting the North to give up its nuclear weapons. US-led talks on the problem have been deadlocked for more than two years, and tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen in the meanwhile.
“North Korea is attempting to send a message to Washington that things would not proceed as it wishes if it does not fulfill the North’s demands,” said Moon Seong Mook of the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy in Seoul. North Korea may believe it has a window of opportunity now to gain concessions from US President Joe Biden’s administration, he added, because the country is mired in a domestic dispute over the disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, observers think Moon’s government, which has been aggressively pursuing North Korean peace, may have acted to appear harsher in response to criticism that it is too soft on the North.
Since the 1950-53 Korean War, which put the North and its ally China against the South, the two countries have been technically at war. This is a condensed version of the information.