North Korea fires eight ballistic missiles over fear Kim Jong-un prepares for nuclear test

North Korea has launched eight ballistic missiles from multiple locations simultaneously amid fears Kim Jong-un may be preparing for a new nuclear test.

The dictator has promised to ramp up his weapons program this year and has boasted he will “shake the world” with more missile tests.

North Korea launched eight ballistic missiles from multiple locations on Sunday

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North Korea launched eight ballistic missiles from multiple locations on SundayCredit: AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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North Korean leader Kim Jong UnCredit: AP
People watch a TV screen showing a news program about North Korea's missile launch

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People watch a TV screen showing a news program about North Korea’s missile launchCredit: AP

The latest volley of missiles was fired toward the sea from multiple locations over a 30-minute period on Sunday, South Korea said.

Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “Our military has detected eight short-range ballistic missiles fired by North Korea.”

They flew different distances – from 68 miles to 416 miles – and flew at different altitudes, up to 55 miles.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the simultaneous test firing from multiple locations was “unusual”.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” he added.

According to local reports, two missiles were launched from each site — the largest number of ballistic missiles North Korea has recently launched in a single day.

Analysts said the missile launches – one of nearly 20 Pyongyang weapons tests this year – were a chilling message for Seoul and Washington.

Cheong Seong-jang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute, said, “It shows North Korea’s intention to neutralize South Korea’s and the United States’ missile defense systems in an emergency with multiple simultaneous attacks.”

Analysts have warned Kim could speed up nuclear test plans to distract North Korean people from the catastrophic Covid outbreak.

Despite struggling with the rampant Covid outbreak, the country has resumed construction of a long-dormant nuclear reactor, according to new satellite images.

South Korea said Pyongyang conducted tests of a nuclear explosive device in preparation for its first nuclear test since 2017.

And the move comes barely a day after South Korea and the US completed three-day exercises involving the USS Ronald Reagan, a 100,000-ton nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

The exercises were the first joint military exercises since South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk-yeol took office last month – and the first since November 2017 to involve an aircraft carrier.

Pyongyang has long protested the joint exercises, branding them as rehearsals for an invasion.

Go Myong-hyun, a researcher at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies, said Sunday’s missile launches were most likely a response to US-South Korea maneuvers.

“It seems that they fired eight missiles because, from their point of view, the scope of the joint exercises has increased,” he told AFP.

Last month, US President Joe Biden said he would send South Korea “strategic assets” to defend against the North if necessary.

Pyongyang tested three missiles, including what may be its largest ICBM, the Hwasong-17, just days after Biden left South Korea following his summit with Yoon.

Long-range and nuclear tests have been on hold since Kim Jong-un met Donald Trump on high-profile negotiations that collapsed in 2019.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5492836/north-korea-fires-eight-ballistic-missiles/ North Korea fires eight ballistic missiles over fear Kim Jong-un prepares for nuclear test

DevanCole

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