North Korea undertook the first missile test since US President Joe Biden took office. The general staff of the South Korean armed forces announced on Wednesday that two short-range cruise missiles were probably fired during the weapons test on the west coast of North Korea.
Biden downplayed the test. When asked by journalists whether the test would be seen as a provocation, Biden, citing the US Department of Defense, said on Tuesday evening (local time) in Washington: “No … everything as usual. There is no new problem with what they did. “
UN resolutions prohibit the self-proclaimed nuclear power North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on their design, can also carry nuclear warheads. However, tests of cruise missiles are not subject to sanctions against the country. Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles have their own permanent drive.
How far the two guided missiles flew on Sunday was initially unclear. It was the country’s first known missile test since April last year. The test appears to be part of the winter training of the North Korean armed forces, the South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted a military representative as saying.
The test was carried out after joint military exercises by the armed forces of South Korea and the USA. The nine-day command exercise, which did not include field training, ended on Thursday last week. The influential sister of the North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, had condemned the military exercises and accused the new US administration of wanting to cause trouble as a first step.
During a visit to Seoul last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on China to increase its influence over the government in Pyongyang in the dispute over the North Korean nuclear weapons program.
The US government is working with South Korea and other allies to formulate a new North Korea policy. The full review of this policy, including options, is almost complete, said a senior government official. Washington has no “illusions about how difficult it will be” about the diplomatic efforts it has made with North Korea.
North Korea has been pushing its missile program for many years. The focus is on the development of ballistic missiles. In addition, the isolated country is developing other weapon systems, including guided weapons. The negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington on the North Korean nuclear program have not progressed for two years.