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North Korea conducts ballistic missile test, marking 14th weapons test launch
North Korea continues to develop its nuclear and military arsenal despite condemnations from its neighboring countries and the US. South Korean authorities reported another weapons test launch was conducted by Pyongyang, marking the 14th weapons test so far this year.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said North Korea has fired another ballistic missile toward the east coast. The South Korean military detected the launch, which was also confirmed by Japan’s coast guard, saying it was likely a ballistic missile. The launch reportedly came from the Sunan area of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile flew 470 kilometers with an altitude of 780 kilometers with Mach 11 speed. The JCS then urged Pyongyang to cease its ballistic missile tests as it breaches the UN security council resolutions and poses a “grave threat” that would undermine peace in the Korean peninsula.
“Our military is tracking and monitoring related movements to prepare against the possibility of an additional launch, and it is maintaining a full readiness posture,” the JCS said in a statement sent via text message to reporters.
The test launch also comes ahead of the inauguration of South Korea’s new President, Yoon Suk-yeol on May 10. Yoon is expected to take a more hawkish stance on North Korea during his presidency. Last month, North Korea also test-fired another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, the first full-fledged test since 2017.
Meanwhile, a South Korean activist claimed to have sent one million propaganda leaflet balloons to North Korea, his first launch as he stands trial for cross-border leafleting.
Park Sang-hak, who is also a North Korean defector said Thursday that he resumed his leaflet campaign this week after a year of halting the campaign during a police investigation and court trial for sending leaflet balloons to North Korea.
A law was passed in March of 2021 that bans anti-Pyongyang leafleters with a maximum prison sentence of three years. The issue was a hot topic of debate in South Korea as critics say that Seoul’s liberal government was sacrificing freedom of speech in its effort to improve ties with North Korea.