North Korea fires 23 missiles escalating tensions with USA and South Korea

An image of a Hwasong-17 launch on March 24, 2022, as published on North Korean state media. Photo: CNN

North Korea fired not less than 23 missiles Wednesday and one of them came down very close to the South Korean coastline. The missile landed 57 kilometers east of the South Korean town Sokcho, in a maritime area where several disputes between the two countries has previously taken place.

North Korea has fired 50 testing missiles this year.

– It is the first time since North- and South Korea agreed to truce in 1953, that a North Korean missile has come down this close to South Korean territory and we have never seen so many missile firings during such a short timeframe, said Camilla Nørup Sørensen, lecturer at the Royal Danish Defense Studies, to Danish DR.

As a counteraction, South Korea sent F16-aircrafts and dropped three surface-to-air missiles in the maritime area.

According to the Japanese government, North Korea continued to fire missiles Thursday morning of which one of the missiles caused the Japanese Authorities to advise citizens in the central and northern Japan to seek cover or stay indoors.

Japanese and South Korean authorities said the missile was likely to be a intercontinental ballistic missile (ICMB) – North Korea’s most long-ranged missile type able to carry a nuclear warhead. The missile came down in the Pacific Ocean around 1.100 kilometers east of Japan.

Camilla Nørup Sørense assessed that the North Korean missile firings are an attempt to counteract the extensive military exercises the United States, South Korea and Japan has collaboratively conducted in the area, but that there are two other significant causes for the increase in the North Korean firings.

Firstly, North Korea wishes to develop its missile capacity. The many firings make it difficult for opponents to identify what kind of missiles North Korea has developed and where they are hidden.  Secondly, North Korea simply wants attention as the United States has lately aimed its attention to the war between Ukraine and Russia and the general tensions between China and Taiwan.

North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un has declined to initiate negotiations with the United States as the country said it will not abolish its nuclear missile development program which is otherwise demanded by the United States.

As North Korea is subject to extremely harsh sanctions already, Camilla Nørup Sørensen believed that the country does not have any other cards on its hands in terms of deterrence capacity. She added that the United States and its allies are forced to re-think their political startegy towards North Korea as it keeps moving forward in developing more advanced missiles.

– There is no solution to the Korean Peninsula and therefore negotiations are necessary (…) North Korea does not want to start a war, but the risk of misunderstandings and accidents increases when the parties are not communicating. That is the main risk at the moment, Camilla Nørup Sørensen said to Danish DR.


About Jeannette Hinrup

Jeannette Sophie Hinrup is a Danish environmental geographer traveling South East Asia while writing for ScandAsia.

View all posts by Jeannette Hinrup

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