North Korea conducts seventh missile launch in two weeks amid drills

North Korea fired missiles eastward on Sunday as the United States and South Korea concluded a military exercise. The military action marks the country’s seventh launch in two weeks, the Associated Press reported, noting that two short-range ballistic missiles were fired.

The test came just hours after the conclusion of two-day naval exercises by the US and South Korea off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, the news agency reported.

The Japanese prime minister’s office issued an emergency call on Saturday, saying on Twitter that North Korea had “launched a suspected ballistic missile.”

A spokesman for the State Department said in an email on Saturday news week that the US “condemns the DPRK’s ballistic missile launch.”

“This launch, along with the other launches this month, violates several United Nations Security Council resolutions and poses a threat to the DPRK’s neighbors and the international community. We remain committed to a diplomatic approach to the DPRK and call on the DPRK to engage in dialogue respectively. Our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains unwavering,” the spokesman wrote.

After slowing under the administration of former President Donald Trump, North Korean missile tests are now reportedly at an all-time high.

Earlier this week, North Korea fired a missile over Japan, prompting Japanese officials to advise citizens to seek shelter before the projectile landed in the Pacific. Meanwhile, North Korean warplanes conducted fire drills near South Korea on Thursday, prompting the military to mount an “overwhelming” response involving 30 planes.

North Korea conducts 7th missile launch
Above, a North Korean flag flutters in the wind of the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea on October 4. North Korea fired missiles eastward on Sunday as the United States and South Korea ended a military exercise.
Anthony Wallace

Yangmo Ku, a professor of political science at Norwich University, said news week on Saturday that the increased missile launches come as North Korea continues to see poor economic conditions, exacerbated by sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic in recent years.

“As the economic situation worsens, I think the domestic grievances and all those things have increased. From North Korea’s point of view…raising tensions can be a good way to draw people’s attention outward,” Ku said.

He added that North Korea is “sensitive” to the military exercises being conducted between the US and South Korea and that the “missile launches would be a form of protest against this type of joint military exercise.”

Ku said that as tensions between China and Taiwan increased and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China, Russia and North Korea have strengthened their alliances.

He also said that given the current geopolitical dynamics, China and Russia “are not harshly criticizing North Korea” over missile testing.

“From the North Korean point of view, it is a very optimal time to conduct missile tests under such structural conditions,” Ku added.

This week, the US envoy to the UN accused China and Russia of “enabling North Korea” as the two countries vetoed efforts to tighten UN sanctions on the regime after it ramped up missile testing.

In an interview on the today Show on Saturday, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis said US officials should be prepared for North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un to conduct a nuclear test.

“Probably underground, maybe out at sea. He’s someone who seeks attention in the wrong way and I think that’s worth focusing on,” Stavridis said. North Korea conducts seventh missile launch in two weeks amid drills

Rick Schindler

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