North Korea fires 3 missiles days after new South Korean president swears in

North Korea fires 3 missiles days after new South Korean president swears in

North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off the east coast on Thursday, the South Korean Army and Japan’s Defense Ministry said. a as a threat to international peace and security.

The launches were the first since the inauguration, on Tuesday (10), of the new South Korean president, Yoon Suk-yeol, elected in March with a conservative platform. The newly sworn-in leader has already indicated that there must be a change in foreign policy with neighbors, promising to speak more aggressively with Pyongyang.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the three short-range missiles were fired from Sunan, an area in which an international airport is located and where the North Korean regime said it carried out its biggest test of a nuclear-capable intercontinental missile. in mid-March. The missiles flew approximately 360 km, reaching an altitude of 90 km.

This Thursday’s releases also come shortly after Pyongyang officially confirmed the first cases of Covid in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. The dictatorship already speaks of a “serious national emergency” and urges the population to isolate.

Yoon’s office issued a statement condemning the firing – North Korea’s 16th public weapons test this year alone – and saying that the neighboring regime has been dubious in firing ballistic missiles at the same time that the North Korean people face off. a coronavirus outbreak.

In the previous test it had carried out on Saturday (7), Pyongyang used a submarine-launched ballistic missile. In April, Kim Jong-un promised to speed up the construction of the country’s nuclear arsenal.

The first outbreak of Covid in the Asian country was officially reported after health officials tested on Sunday (8) people from an unidentified organization in the capital who showed symptoms such as fever, state media KCNA reported. Infections are caused by the BA.2 subvariant of the omicron strain of coronavirus.

Kim Jong-un urged all cities and counties across the country to completely lock down their areas to help stop the spread of the virus, KCNA reported after a high-level meeting of the Workers’ Party to address the matter.

According to the North Korean news agency, he called for national unity during the period of emergency, telling the population that “fear without scientific basis, lack of faith and lack of will” would constitute “more dangerous enemies” than the virus.

Analysts question whether the Covid outbreak will affect Kim’s plan to restart nuclear tests. Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, told The New York Times that the North Korean population may be less interested in nuclear tests or missile launches when the virus appears to be a threat, but added that the regime will likely try to boost people’s morale after the outbreak through these exercises.

US and South Korean officials said Pyongyang’s first nuclear test since 2017 could take place as early as this month. In a statement, the US military said it was consulting closely with its allies on Thursday’s launch.

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