Koreas conduct duelling missile tests
Both North Korea and South Korea test fired ballistic missiles yesterday, the latest volley in an arms race that has seen both countries develop increasingly sophisticated weapons while efforts to get talks going on defusing tension prove fruitless.
South Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), becoming the first country without nuclear weapons to develop such a system.
South Korea President Moon was attending that test firing when word came of the North Korean launches, its first ballistic missile tests since March. North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles that landed in the sea off its east coast, according to officials in South Korea and Japan, just days after it tested a cruise missile that is believed to have nuclear capabilities.
North Korea has been steadily developing its weapons systems amid a standoff over talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in return for US sanctions relief. The negotiations, initiated between former US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2018, have stalled since 2019.
The US military's Indo-Pacific Command said North Korea's missile launches did not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, territory, or allies, but highlight the destabilising impact of its illicit weapons programme.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the missile launch "outrageous" and strongly condemned it as a threat to peace and security in the region.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing that China hoped "relevant parties" would "exercise restraint".