North and South Korea conduct duelling missile tests as arms race heats up By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flies on a mast on the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo


By Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korea and South Korea check fired ballistic missiles on Wednesday, the newest volley in an arms race that has seen each international locations develop more and more refined weapons whereas efforts to get talks occurring defusing rigidity show fruitless.

South Korea examined a submarine-launched ballistic missile, turning into the primary nation with out nuclear weapons to develop such a system.

South Korean President Moon was attending that check firing when phrase got here of the North Korean launches, its first ballistic missile tests since March

North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles that landed within the sea off its east coast, in accordance with officers in South Korea and Japan, simply days after it examined a cruise missile that’s believed to have nuclear capabilities.

Japan’s defence ministry stated late on Wednesday the missiles had landed inside Japan’s unique financial zone (EEZ), contradicting earlier authorities feedback that they fell outdoors its waters.

North Korea has been steadily growing its weapons techniques amid a stand-off over talks geared toward dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in return for U.S. sanctions reduction. The negotiations, initiated between former U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean chief Kim Jong Un in 2018, have stalled since 2019.

“North Korea fired two unidentified ballistic missiles from its central inland region towards the east coast, and intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are conducting detailed analysis for further information,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) stated in a press release.

The missiles had been fired simply after 12:30 p.m. (0330 GMT), flying 800 km (497 miles) to a most altitude of 60 km (37 miles), the JCS reported.


The United States condemned North Korea’s missile launch, saying it was in violation of a number of U.N. Security Council resolutions and posed a risk to Pyongyang’s neighbours, a State Department spokesperson stated, with out mentioning South Korea’s tests.

The U.S. army’s Indo-Pacific Command stated North Korea’s missile launches didn’t pose an instantaneous risk to U.S. personnel, territory or allies, however highlighted the destabilising impression of its illicit weapons programme.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga known as the missile launch “outrageous” and strongly condemned it as a risk to peace and safety within the area.

China’s international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian instructed a every day briefing that China hoped “relevant parties” would “exercise restraint”.

South Korea has been splurging on a variety of recent army techniques, together with ballistic missiles, submarines and its first plane service. It has a acknowledged coverage of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

The arms race has accelerated below Moon for a lot of causes, together with his push for extra international coverage autonomy, wariness of counting on the United States after Trump’s presidency and army developments in each North Korea and China, stated Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a Korea knowledgeable at King’s College London.

“South Korea would face many political and legal obstacles to develop nuclear weapons, both internal and external,” he stated. “So it will develop all other capabilities to deter North Korea and show who the strongest Korea is.”

President Moon cited the nuclear-armed North’s “asymmetric capabilities” as a motive for South Korea to develop higher missiles.

“Enhancing our missile capability is exactly what’s needed as deterrence against North Korea’s provocation,” he stated, whereas stressing that the SLBM check had been deliberate and was not in response to the North’s launches.


In a press release carried by state media, Kim Yo Jong, the highly effective sister of North Korean chief Kim Jong Un, criticised Moon’s speech, saying his speak of North Korean provocations was inappropriate.

Without mentioning the newest launches by the North, Kim Yo Jong stated North Korea’s actions had been routine defensive measures, and that inter-Korean ties might break down if Moon continues to “slander” the North.

She complained of an “illogical… foolish attitude” that portrayed South Korean behaviour as a professional motion to help peace and North Korea’s actions as a risk to peace.

Unlike the South, North Korea’s ballistic missile techniques have been banned by U.N. Security Council resolutions.

In November 2017, North Korea examined an intercontinental ballistic missile able to reaching the whole United States and declared it had develop into a nuclear energy.

North Korea stated it efficiently examined a brand new long-range cruise missile final weekend. Analysts say that weapon might be its first cruise missile with a nuclear functionality.

The newest launch got here as international ministers of South Korea and China held talks in Seoul amid concern over North Korea’s tests and the stalled denuclearisation negotiations.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, when requested concerning the cruise missile tests, stated all events ought to work to advertise peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

“Not only North Korea but other countries are carrying out military activity,” he instructed reporters.

In a gathering with Wang on Wednesday, Moon requested for China’s help to restart dialogue, saying North Korea had not been responding to South Korean and U.S. provides for talks or engagement such as humanitarian support, Moon’s spokesperson stated.