Despite the United Nations Security Council officially condemning North Korea’s recent missile tests, the increasingly hostile nation fired a short-range ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, 26 July, around 9:40pm. The blatant violation of UN resolutions was said to be am drill, simulating strikes on U.S. military facilities located in South Korea. The United States presently has over 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea.
Interestingly, the missile launch was also reported to be a commemoration of the official cease-fire from 1953 that continues since the Korean War. Since taking charge of North Korea upon his father’s death, Kim Jong Un has involved North Korea in a host of international news stories. In 2013, North Korea revealed plans to strike U.S. cities with nuclear weapons, naming Los Angeles and Washington D.C. in particular. The North Korean nation has also increased nuclear arms production and threatened to end the cease-fire with South Korea by again engaging in all-out war.
The missile fired on Saturday had an estimated firing range of 500 kilometers, and it is believed the missile was fired from a location less than 15 kilometers from the sea border between North and South Korea. As reported by Japan Times, the recent missile launches have grown closer and closer to the border with South Korea, which analysts suggest is testing limits and increasing tension as a way to boost the threat North Korea poses to South Korea. The United Nations protested the launch, to which North Korea counter-protested claiming their drills are justified responses to U.S. war exercises.
The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and his crisis management team outright protested the launch, noting the problems it posed for aircraft and shipping lines in that region. Japan and North Korea have not had diplomatic ties, and Japan expressed disapproval in North Korea’s behaviors. This marked their 15th missile launch in 2014, all the while North Korea is engaging in talks to participate in Asiad, also known as the Asian Games; an Olympic-style sporting event involving participants from Asian countries.