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North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile in First Test of 2024

January 14, 2024
North Korea Missile
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SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea fired a suspected intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) into the East Sea on Sunday, marking its first launch of the year and raising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) detected the launch from an area near Pyongyang around 2:55 p.m. local time. The missile traveled approximately 1,000 kilometers before landing in the sea, according to Yonhap news agency.

The JCS strongly condemned the launch, calling it a “clear provocative act” and vowing to maintain a “firm South Korea-US combined defense posture.” The launch also prompted an analysis of the missile’s specifications by South Korean and American authorities.

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The latest test comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula following North Korea’s artillery drills near the maritime border earlier this month. South Korea responded to those drills with its live-fire exercises, the first such exercises on the border islands of Baengnyeong and Yeonpyeong in over six years.

The launch also coincides with a planned visit to Russia by North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui this week. The visit is seen as a further sign of strengthening ties between the two countries, with Seoul and Washington accusing Pyongyang of supplying arms to Moscow.

Possible reasons for the launch:

  • Demonstrate military capabilities: North Korea has a history of using missile tests to showcase its military power and pressure its rivals.
  • Increase leverage in negotiations: The launch could be a way for North Korea to gain leverage in future negotiations with the United States on issues such as sanctions and denuclearization.
  • Send a message to South Korea: The launch could be a response to South Korea’s recent live-fire exercises or a way to express displeasure with other South Korean actions.

Potential consequences of the launch:

  • Increased tensions on the Korean peninsula: The launch could lead to further military buildup by both North and South Korea, as well as increased vigilance by the United States and its allies.
  • Stalled denuclearization efforts: The launch could make it more difficult to revive stalled denuclearization talks between North Korea and the United States.
  • International condemnation: The launch is likely to be condemned by the international community, including the United Nations Security Council.

It remains to be seen how the international community will respond to North Korea’s latest missile test. However, the launch has the potential to further destabilize the situation on the Korean peninsula.

Additional notes:

  • The type of IRBM launched by North Korea has not been confirmed.
  • It is unclear whether the launch was successful in terms of achieving its intended goals.
  • The situation on the Korean peninsula is fluid and could change rapidly in the coming days and weeks.

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