South Korea is reporting that the North Korean regime tested several short-range missiles. The missiles were fired from the Hodo peninsula in eastern North Korea, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea.
If the reports are confirmed, it would be the first missile launch in North Korea since Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile back in November 2017.
Pyongyang claimed last month they had tested a new “tactical guided weapon”, which was the first test since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met US President Donald Trump in Vietnam.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that he believed North Korea wouldn’t do anything to jeopardise their path towards better international relations and a more stable economy. “He also knows that I am with him and he does not want to break his promise to me.” He said on social media.
Anything in this very interesting world is possible, but I believe that Kim Jong Un fully realizes the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it. He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2019
Short-range missiles wouldn’t be a violation of the promise North Korea made not to test nuclear missiles or long-range missiles.
Even so, it would seem Pyongyang is getting impatient with the US and their insistence that the economic sanctions on the country remain in place until Kim Jong Un dismantles his nuclear weapons programs. When asked to comment, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said “We are aware of North Korea’s actions tonight. We will continue to monitor as necessary”.
The missiles – which were fired between 09:06 and 09:27 local time – were fired from the Hodo peninsula, near the town of Wonsan. They were launched to the north-east and flew for between 70km and 200km before coming down in the Sea of Japan.
Hodo has a history of being used for testing artillery and cruise missiles.
The North Korean news agency KCNA reports that the “tactical guided weapon” test was overseen by Kim Jong Un himself. They say the test was “conducted in various modes of firing at different targets”, which could mean that the missiles can be launched from land, sea, or air.
It is unknown if the weapon was indeed a missile, but most onlookers agree that the weapon was likely a short-range one.
Mr. Kim said last year that he would put an end to nuclear testing and would not launch any more intercontinental ballistic missiles.
It appears that the country is continuing with their nuclear activity though, as satellite images of the main nuclear site in the country seemed to show movement last month. This suggests that the country could be reprocessing radioactive material into bomb fuel.
North Korea has claimed they have developed a nuclear bomb that can be fitted on to a long-range missile, as well as ballistic missiles that could potentially reach mainland United States.