North Korea fires two more missiles in a record year for launches

Two ballistic missiles were fired by North Korea into waters near its east coast, Sunday’s latest test launch in a record-breaking year for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un regime.

Both South Korean and Japanese authorities reported that the launches marked the 35th day in a row when North Korea conducted a missile launch.

These developments follow North Korea’s Friday claim that it has successfully tested a solid fuel rocket motor. This development could allow Kim’s regime to fire intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) more rapidly and reliably in the future.

North Korea launched a Hwasong-17 ICBM on November 18th, its last known missile test.

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Japanese officials claimed that the missiles fired Sunday at 550 km (342 miles) altitude and traveled 500 kilometers (311 miles) in flight, suggesting that they were not long-range bombistic weapons.

They were identified by the South Korean military as MRBMs – medium-range ballistic missiles. The South Korean military called the launches “a serious provocation that harms peace, stability on the Korean Peninsula and the international community” as well as condemning the firings for being a clear violation UN Security Council resolutions.

Toshiro, Japan’s Deputy Defense Ministry, stated that the missiles crashed into the ocean and that no damage to aircraft or ships has been reported. Toshiro Ino stated that the Japanese government had made a formal protest to North Korea via diplomatic channels.

The United States and South Korea urged North Korea not to continue with its missile tests.

North Korea has tested components and missiles of various sizes in this area.

Ankit Panda, a nuclear policy expert from Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said last week that testing this year has shown Pyongyang as a missile power.

Panda stated that the bigger picture shows that North Korea is becoming a prominent operator large-scale missile forces.

Panda stated that the word “test” is inappropriate to refer to most North Korean missile launch launches.

“Most missiles they have launched this year are part of military exercises. They practice for nuclear war. That, I believe, is the main picture for this year.

Panda and other analysts point out that North Korea’s missile tests are in line with a plan Kim put in place in 2021 in order to be a major in the region.

These tests come just days after the establishment of a new US Space Force Command in South Korea.

According to US Forces Korea, the new unit will be based at Osan Air Base in Seoul. It “will be tasked as coordinate space operations and services such missile warning, timing, and position navigation, and satellite communications within this region.”

Space Forces Korea commander Lieutenant Colonel Joshua McCullion answered a question about potential enemies like Pyongyang and said that he hoped the unit would have a deterrent impact.

He said, “The hope is they see that we are ready.”