Despite international sanctions, the self-declared nuclear power North Korea has undertaken its largest missile test since 2017. North Korea fired a medium-range missile on Sunday that flew about 800 kilometers toward the open sea, the South Korean Armed Forces General Staff said. The ballistic missile has reached a flight altitude of 2000 kilometers.
South Korean President Moon Jae In accused North Korea of coming a step closer to fully breaking its self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile tests. North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un declared in April 2018 that nuclear tests and tests with medium- and long-range missiles were not necessary for the time being. A decision by the Central Committee later only referred to a test ban for ICBMs. Medium-range missiles are missiles with a range of 800 to 5500 kilometers.
Moon also accused the neighboring country on Sunday of violating United Nations (UN) resolutions. These ban North Korea from testing ballistic missiles. These are usually surface-to-surface missiles that can also carry a nuclear warhead. North Korea had already tested missiles several times since the beginning of the year. Before the latest test, the country said it had fired two “tactical surface-to-surface guided missiles” with conventional warheads on Thursday.
Japan also confirmed the recent North Korean missile test. The missile apparently crashed into the Sea of Japan, the Japanese news agency Kyodo quoted government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno as saying. Tokyo lodged a protest against the test.
North Korea regularly tests different types of missiles. For years, the communist leadership in Pyongyang has been pushing ahead with the development of missiles that could be equipped with nuclear warheads. It is therefore subject to harsh international sanctions.
In the face of criticism of its missile tests, North Korea claims it is exercising its right to self-defense, among other things. The country has declared itself a nuclear power. Due to the negotiations about its nuclear weapons program, however, its status is open. The US negotiations with North Korea have not progressed for a good three years.