North Korea fired a ballistic missile into its eastern sea on Wednesday. The latest missile launch was the first such in two months amid the ongoing diplomatic talks over North Korea’s nuclear program. The U.S. military said this launch confirms that Pyongyang is not interested in rejoining denuclearization talks anytime soon and instead focuses on boosting its arsenal.
The missile launch was confirmed by the governments of South Korea and Japan. “The North launched the projectile, presumed to be a ballistic missile, into the sea between Korea and Japan at 8:10 a.m,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters in a text message.
“South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies are conducting detailed analysis for additional information,” the message also said.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said, “the ballistic missile appeared to travel around 310 miles before splashing down in waters outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.”
But Japan couldn’t confirm the exact location where the missile landed and whether there were any damages. Japan’s prime minister, Fumino Kishida, said that he had ordered officials to assess any damage to airplanes and ships in that area.
“We find it truly regrettable that North Korea has continued to fire missiles from last year,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters.
Experts think that the missile launch had political intentions as North Korea was trying to apply more pressure on its rivals to accept it as a nuclear power state and ease international sanctions on the country.
In a high ruling party conference last week, North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, vowed to boost his military capability further but didn’t disclose any new policies towards the U.S. and the south. The latest missile launch was a part of his vow to increase military capacities.
Last fall North Korea carried out multiple weapon tests, which increased its hostility with other nations. After artillery drills in early November, North Korea halted its exercises for several months until this Wednesday.
The Biden administration has repeatedly said that it’s open to talking “anywhere and anytime” regarding nuclear diplomacy. But north Koreahasn’ty responded so far, saying U.S. hostility remains unchanged.