North Korea opens new year with rocket launch

Seoul, South Korea –

North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile toward its eastern seaboard on Sunday, entering 2023 with another weapons test following a record number of missile launches last year.

The South Korean military detected the launch from the North Korean capital area at around 2:50 a.m. on Sunday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. It said the missile traveled about 400 kilometers before falling into the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff called the launch “a serious provocation” that compromises peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and around the world. It said South Korea closely monitors North Korea’s moves in coordination with the United States and maintains its readiness to deal with any provocation.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the launch highlighted the “destabilizing impact” of North Korea’s illicit weapons programs. It said US commitments to the defense of South Korea and Japan “remain unchanged.”

North Korea test-fired more than 70 missiles last year. Some experts say the country is ultimately aiming to bolster its arsenal and put more pressure on rivals to win concessions such as sanctions relief.

On Saturday, North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern seaboard.

North Korea’s missile launch for the second day in a row could be a response to a recent missile test by rival South Korea over plans to set up a space-based surveillance system to monitor North Korea. Fairy is better. On Friday, South Korea’s military said it had test-fired a solid-fuel rocket, a type of space launch vehicle it plans to use to put its first spy satellite into orbit in the coming weeks. next year.

Hostility between the two rival Koreas has deepened since early last week, when South Korea accused North Korea of ​​sending drones across the nations’ heavily fortified border for the first time. after 5 years and sent his own drone towards North Korea.

South Korea has admitted it failed to shoot down any of the five North Korean drones it says were found south of the border. However, South Korea has vowed to strengthen its air defense network and stand firm against future North Korean provocations.

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