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





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


By Hyonhee Shin and Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korea and South Korea take a look at fired ballistic missiles on Wednesday, the most recent volley in an arms race that has seen each international locations develop more and more subtle weapons whereas efforts to get talks happening defusing pressure 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 take a look at firing when phrase got here of the North Korean launches, its first ballistic missile exams 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 mentioned 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 creating 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 area in the direction of the east coast, and intelligence authorities of South Korea and the USA are conducting detailed evaluation for additional data,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Employees (JCS) mentioned 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.


America condemned North Korea’s missile launch, saying it was in violation of a number of U.N. Safety Council resolutions and posed a menace to Pyongyang’s neighbours, a State Division spokesperson mentioned, with out mentioning South Korea’s exams.

The U.S. army’s Indo-Pacific Command mentioned North Korea’s missile launches didn’t pose a right away menace to U.S. personnel, territory or allies, however highlighted the destabilising affect of its illicit weapons programme.

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

China’s overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian instructed a every day briefing that China hoped “related events” would “train restraint”.

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

The arms race has accelerated beneath Moon for plenty of causes, together with his push for extra overseas coverage autonomy, wariness of counting on the USA after Trump’s presidency and army developments in each North Korea and China, mentioned Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a Korea knowledgeable at King’s School London.

“South Korea would face many political and authorized obstacles to develop nuclear weapons, each inside and exterior,” he mentioned. “So it would develop all different capabilities to discourage North Korea and present who the strongest Korea is.”

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

“Enhancing our missile functionality is strictly what’s wanted as deterrence in opposition to North Korea’s provocation,” he mentioned, whereas stressing that the SLBM take a look at 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 discuss of North Korean provocations was inappropriate.

With out mentioning the most recent launches by the North, Kim Yo Jong mentioned 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… silly perspective” that portrayed South Korean behaviour as a professional motion to assist peace and North Korea’s actions as a menace to peace.

In contrast to the South, North Korea’s ballistic missile techniques have been banned by U.N. Safety Council resolutions.

In November 2017, North Korea examined an intercontinental ballistic missile able to reaching all the United States and declared it had turn out to be a nuclear energy.

North Korea mentioned 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 most recent launch got here as overseas ministers of South Korea and China held talks in Seoul amid concern over North Korea’s exams and the stalled denuclearisation negotiations.

Chinese language Overseas Minister Wang Yi, when requested concerning the cruise missile exams, mentioned all events ought to work to advertise peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

“Not solely North Korea however different international locations are finishing up army exercise,” he instructed reporters.

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