North Korea on March 29 fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast. As per reports, South Korea called the latest launch an 'inappropriate' action by the North amid the global coronavirus pandemic. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that the two short-range ballistic missiles were launched from the coastal Wonsan area and flew 230 kilometres at a maximum altitude of 30 kilometres.
According to local media reports, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff called the act very inappropriate at a time when the entire world is battling the coronavirus outbreak and called for an immediate halt. Japan's ministry of defence also confirmed the firing of missiles by North Korea and said that the missiles did not land in the Japanese territory or its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEC).
According to reports, the launch by the North Korean regime was eight and ninth of this month as they had already tested seven missiles prior to conducting the latest military drill. Media reports suggest that these launches are personally overseen by the Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un. According to the United Nations Security Council resolutions, North Korea is barred from testing any ballistic missile and it has been heavily sanctioned for its missile and nuclear programs by the United States.
According to Shea Cotton, a senior researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, March 2020 has seen the most number of missile launches by North Korea in a single month. As per Shea, so far all the missiles fired by North Korea this year have been short-range weapons like KN-24, however, some media reports speculate that Pyongyang may well be testing long-range ballistic missiles or submarine capable missiles.
(Photo credit: AP)