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North Korea testing weapons, fires missile into sea

In 2021, North Korea continued developing its weapons program and testing its missiles. Here’s what’s happening now

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People in Paju, near the border with North Korea.

People look toward the North Korean side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the border with North Korea, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.

Ahn Young-joon, Associated Press

North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile off its east coast earlier this week, per BBC News.

  • The missile landed in the ocean, somewhere between Korea and Japan, bringing forth concerns from Seoul and Tokyo.

Per Reuters, this is the first test launch since October 2021 in an effort to support the military to counter any situation of international instability, as desired by the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

  • South Korean and U.S. intelligence is closely analyzing the situation.
  • The United Nations Security Council has previously banned all ballistic missile tests by North Korea, which the country is again in violation of, and has imposed sanctions over the weapons programs.

Japan Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the suspected missile flew about 310 miles, per the report. But there is no way to confirm the full striking range of the ballistic.

  • “There’s no way to assess whether this might have been a longer-range missile flown on a shortened trajectory,” said Ankit Panda of the Nuclear Policy Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, according to BBC News.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the event “very regrettable,” pointing to North Korea’s persistent missile testing since 2021, according to The Hill.

  • In 2021, the country continued advancing its weapons program, conducting tests of all types of missiles — from hypersonic ones to train-based ballistics.