This was in a resumption of weapons tests. It happened as the United States, its allies, and Russia are focusing on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This was the eighth missile launch of this type in 2018. Experts believe that North Korea is seeking to improve its weapon technology in order to pressure the United States into granting concessions, such as sanctions relief, amid long-stalled disarmament negotiations. North Korea might also see the U.S. concern with the Ukraine conflict, as an opportunity to increase testing activities without Washington responding seriously.
Nobuo Kishi, the Japanese Defense Minister, stated that the North Korean missile flew approximately 300 km (190 miles), at an altitude of 600 km (370 miles), before it landed off North Korea's eastern coast. He said that there has not been any damage to aircraft or vessels.
He stated that North Korea's deliberate missile launch was unacceptable, despite the fact that the international community was distracted by the Russian invasion in Ukraine. "Regardless of the motives, North Korea's missile launches repeatedly are completely unacceptable and we cannot ignore significant missile and nuclear advances."
Officials from South Korea said that they were aware of the North's launch and expressed their "deep concern and grave regret" about it.
Top South Korean officials stated that the launch was not in accordance with the timeframe for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the world.
Later Sunday, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command condemned the launch and urged North Korea not to carry out any further destabilizing actions. The statement stated that the U.S. commitment is to South Korea and Japan defense "remains unwavering," but Sunday's launch did not pose an immediate threat for U.S. territory or its allies.
This launch was made one day after North Korea's first response to the Ukraine conflict came in the form an article written by a government analyst. It expressed support for Russia but criticized the United States.
In a post on the Foreign Ministry's website, Ri Ji Song, a North Korean researcher on international politics, stated that the main cause of the Ukraine incident was the "high-handedness" and "arbitrariness" of the United States.
Ri accused Washington "arrogance" as well as "double standards" for describing its defense measures against rivals as "provocations or injustices".
Before the disintegration of the Soviet Union in early 1990s, North Korea was the largest aid provider from that country. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying to restore North Korea's ties to Russia in a bid for greater influence and more allies that can help the United States.
Professor Leif-Eric Easley of Ewha University in Seoul said that the Biden administration must show that it remains focused on the Indo-Pacific region. This includes responding strongly to Pyongyang’s provocations.
Easley stated that North Korea will not do anyone any favors by remaining silent while the world deals the Russia's aggression against Ukraine. "Pyongyang has a very ambitious plan for military modernization. Tests of ever-better missiles have been a key part of the Kim regime's legitimacy and strength.
North Korea conducted seven rounds last month of missile tests. This is a record-breaking number of launches per month since Kim Jong Un assumed power in late 2011. North Korea stopped testing activities after the opening of the Winter Olympics in China. This was its last major ally, and an economic pipeline. Experts had predicted that North Korea would resume testing and test larger weapons after the Games.
After the Olympics, Kim wrote to Xi Jinping requesting that bilateral ties be strengthened in the face "of the undisguised hostile strategy and military threat" of the U.S.
Kim was retorted by Xi last week. He said China is open to strengthening relations, according North Korea's state media.
The U.S.-led diplomacy to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear program in exchange for political and economic rewards fell apart in 2019 after President Donald Trump rejected Kim’s request for substantial sanctions relief in return for only limited steps towards denuclearization during their second summit in Vietnam.
Since then, U.S. officials repeatedly called for the resumption talks without preconditions. But Pyongyang has stated that it will not return to the table until Washington ends its hostility.