North Korea Suspected of Firing Missile Into Eastern Waters

North Korea Suspected of Firing Missile Into Eastern Waters

( – North Korea has apparently test-fired another ballistic missile, its first launch since last October. The suspected weapon landed in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan, alarming US allies in the region.

Late on January 4 – early January 5 EST – an unidentified projectile was launched from the secretive Stalinist state and flew around 310 miles to the east before coming down in the Sea of Japan. The launch was reported by the Japanese Coast Guard, and later confirmed by South Korean air defense forces. A statement by the Japanese prime minister said the object was “presumed to be a ballistic missile” and called North Korea’s weapon tests “regrettable.”

North Korea started testing ballistic missiles in 1984, firing local copies of the Soviet-designed R-17 SCUD. These were crude, short-range missiles, but since 2016, the tests have become more worrying as the rogue state develops more sophisticated weapons. The country has launched several over Japan into the Pacific, and the CIA believes some of the later missiles have enough range to reach anywhere in the continental US. While the latest test only flew a few hundred miles, that’s no indication of its real range – it could potentially travel thousands of miles.

As well as its missiles, North Korea has also tested at least six nuclear weapons. If it can combine the two, they’ll have a powerful capability – enough to make the US think twice about any intervention short of full-scale war, and more than enough to terrorize their non-nuclear neighbors. Japan and South Korea are worried about the increasingly unstable Pyongyang regime, and their concerns are justified.

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