N. Korea fires missiles as U.S. envoy visits Seoul

Why in news

  •       North Korea fired two short-range missiles, the South’s military said, less than a week after its leader, Kim Jong-un, oversaw the test-firing of multiple rockets and a missile


  •       The launches came as U.S. special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Seoul for talks with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and his counterpart, nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon.
  •       South Korea’s President said the tests seemed to be a protest by the North after Mr. Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump failed to reach agreement on the North’s nuclear weapons and missile arsenal at a February summit. “North Korea seemed to be discontented it could not reach a deal in Hanoi,
  •       The two missiles were fired from the northwest area of Kusong, in an easterly direction, They covered distances of 420 km and 270 km and reached an altitude of about 50 km before falling into the sea,
  •       South Korea’s presidential Blue House called the missile launches “very worrisome” and unhelpful for efforts to reduce tensions on the peninsula and improve Korean relations.
  •       even if the missiles were short range, they could still violate UN resolutions barring North Korea from developing its ballistic missile force.

About Missile Test Objective:

  •        The purpose of drill was to test operating ability and accuracy of multiple rocket launchers and tactical guided weapons and also to increase country’s combat ability. This could be North Korea first short range missile launch after more than a year since it is in talk with US for nuclear disarmament
  •       Pressure tactics of test: The attempt seeks to put pressure on US in aftermath of deadlocked nuclear talks between leader Kim Jong-un and US President Trump in their second meeting held at Vietnam.
  • Importance for US: As US heads into 2020 presidential election, this move by North Korea may threaten signature diplomatic initiative by President Trump depriving him of opportunity to declare that he brought peace with Island Nation (which his predecessors failed). But, in reality  peace never got very far as even suspension of all nuclear and missile testing hangs in balance. As per USA’s intelligence agencies report to Congress North Korea in 2018 produced more nuclear material and fabricating an unknown quantity of it into new weapons.
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