North Korea fired two ballistic missiles on August 3.
One of the missiles landed in the Sea of Japan, while the other exploded on launch. US and South Korean officials stated that the missiles were launched in defiance of the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council sanctions, according to CNN News.
The US Strategic Command presumed the missiles to be Rodong missiles, which are intermediate range ballistic missiles that were first developed in the mid-1980s by North Korea.
These testings have been swiftly condemned by international powers, including the United States and Japan. The Security Council of U.N. had an emergency meeting in response to the testings.
“It imposes a serious threat to Japan’s security and it is an unforgivable act of violence toward Japan’s security,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
However, this was not the first occurrence of North Korean missile testing; North Korea has performed multiple tests over the span of a couple months. On July 19, North Korea fired 3 ballistic missiles, believed to be Scud or Rodong type missiles, east of the country. A South Korean defense official stated that North Korea has launched more than 30 missiles since Kim Jong Un took power in 2011, according to CNN.
Additionally, North and South Korea continue to have a contentious relationship ever since the military stalemate of the Korean War, with accounts of numerous acts of aggression from North Korea. Although it was reported that North Korea wanted to conduct formal peace talks to formally end the war in 2016, any possibility of talks ended due to the country’s refusal to discuss “nuclear disarmament.”
North Korea is believed to have more than 1,000 missiles with various capabilities, including long-range missiles which could possibly strike the US at a certain point in the future, according to BBC. First developed from the Scud (development from German’s rockets of WWII), North Korea’s initial missiles progressed from tactical artillery rockets to medium-range ballistic missiles. For the last several years, North Korea has launched several unsuccessful missiles called Taepodong-2. If the Taepodong-2 were to be successfully launched and reach its maximum estimated range, its increased power could endanger countries as far as Australia and parts of the US. Systems capable of greater ranges continue to be under research and development.
In response to North Korea’s actions, South Korea deployed a system called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) last month in Seongju County in order to defend the country and shoot down the ballistic missiles from North Korea. This decision by South Korea has been controversial and met with much protests, especially from Seongju civilians.
In response to the deployment of the system, North Korea’s military stated that the United States and South Korea would “suffer from the nightmare of extreme uneasiness and terror.”
“Although North and South Korea’s relationship has always been tumultuous, hearing that North Korea is testing and actually firing missiles again does make me fear for what might happen in the future,” Susan Lee, a student living in Los Angeles, said to JSR.