Amid Delayed U.S. Nuclear Talks, North and South Korea Traded Ballistic Missile Tests

North Korea and South Korea exchanged ballistic missile tests hours apart as the rivalry intensifies between the two neighboring countries. Two ballistic missiles were launched by North Korea, making it the first weapon test in six months.

On Wednesday, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles off its coast; then, hours later, South Korea declared that the country likewise carried out a successful ballistic missile test launched from a submarine. 

The trading ballistic launches highlight the arms race between the neighboring countries amidst the hampered nuclear diplomacy with the U.S.; it also comes merely two days after North Korea announced they tested a cruise missile.

The launch of the two ballistic missiles from North Korea is the first weapons exercise in almost six months by Kim Jong Un’s government. It also came as Sung Kim, Biden’s envoy for North Korea, visited Tokyo to talk with South Korea and Japan on how to settle the diplomatic standoff.

However, the dueling tests launched on Wednesday will more likely rekindle that force and add to the mounting headaches faced by the Biden administration when it comes to foreign policy.

South Korea traded shots in exchange and launched an underwater ballistic missile test

On the other hand, the ballistic missile launched underwater from a submarine makes South Korea only the 8th nation known to have such a weapon. Included on the list are North Korea, China, Russia, France, Britain, India, and the United States. It is, however, the first nation without nuclear armaments to have such artillery.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in declared that the improvements in the country’s missile capabilities serve as a “deterrence” against the provocation coming from North Korea. 

On the other hand, the powerful sister of Kim Jong Un hit back, giving a threat of “complete destruction” of diplomatic relations. State media then released an announcement of Kim Yo Jong.

This announcement criticized the description made by Moon Jae-in about the missile tests of North Korea, calling it a “provocation.” She then warned the South Korean president to not proceed with what she called slander. 

According to reports, the U.S. intelligence agencies and the South Korean military were doing a thorough analysis to acquire more detailed information. The South Korean military likewise increased the surveillance in the area.

On the other hand, Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga called the ballistic missile launch from North Korea a “threat” to the security and peace of Japan. He added that although the missile fell outside of the exclusive economic zone of Japan, the government will closely monitor the area.

On the other hand, the Indo-Pacific Command of the U.S. military acknowledged the missile launch from North Korea, noting they are aware of it. They also mentioned they are discussing closely with U.S. partners and allies.