North Korea Fires 4th Missile Launch This Year

North Korea fired its fourth missile launch in 2022, firing two projectiles into the ocean. 

South Korea’s military said that it marked the fourth launch in the past month, with an apparent goal of demonstrating its military capability. They come following two missile launches last week, and one that occurred a week earlier. The country claimed to have successfully test-fired missiles at the beginning of the month as well. 

The missile launches come amid paused diplomacy between North Korea and the United States, and ongoing border closures due to the pandemic. 

The missiles do not pose an immediate threat to the U.S. according to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. However, the missiles do highlight the potential North Korea’s “illicit” weapons program has to destabilize the region, and more globally as well. 

Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno condemned the missiles, saying that the country’s actions were threats to peace. 

The Japanese Defense Minister, Nobuo Kishi, said that the two missiles were fired within three minutes of each other. South Korean defense spokesman Boo Seung-chan said that details were being analyzed by South Korea and the United States. 

North Korea has been ramping up its missile tests, testing out new and potentially even nuclear-capable missiles that are designed to fly at low altitudes and be maneuverable. 

Experts weighing in on the increased missile launches have said that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un is returning to a tactic of pressuring neighbors as well as the U.S. with its launches, in an effort to pose threats before offering negotiations in hopes of concessions. 

There was a diplomatic push led by the U.S. to convince the country to abandon its nuclear weapons program, which collapsed in 2019 because of then-President Donald Trump. Trump rejected North Korea’s demands for major sanctions relief if they were to surrender some of its nuclear capabilities. 

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