North Korea has fired at least one unidentified projectile toward the sea, South Korea’s military command said Wednesday.
The projectile, believed to be a ballistic missile, flew toward the Baltic Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan. The Japanese government in Tokyo also spoke of a “suspected ballistic missile”.
The launch followed a speech by leader Kim Jong-un last week in which he said North Korea would continue to build its military capabilities. North Korea last tested a ballistic missile in October. UN resolutions prohibit testing with such missiles. The country is subject to severe international sanctions because of its nuclear programs.
The economy of sanctions-impoverished North Korea also suffers from rigid, self-imposed isolation due to Covid-19. However, the deteriorating economic situation during the pandemic has not weakened the country’s weapons programs. On the contrary, North Korea has accelerated weapons development, according to a UN report in October.
International concern has grown over a food crisis in North Korea. In October, a UN human rights expert warned that the most vulnerable in the country “is at risk of starvation”.