North Korea launched two of its Musudan missiles last Wednesday. The first crashed shortly after launch but the second one managed to fly 400 kilometers.
Although the missiles are designed to reach targets 3,000 kilometers apart, many assure that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been able to learn from its launch mistakes in the past.
The first Musudan missiles were manufactured in 2007 under Kim Jong-Il’s rule. Intelligence reports state that there are approximately 30 Musudan projectiles.
North Korea pushes its nuclear program forwards
North Korea continues to escalate tensions after being imposed several sanctions by the U.N. Security Council. Japan’s forces are also in a constant state of alert in case North Korean projectiles enter Japanese airspace. Japan has already deployed several anti-missile defenses to defend its perimeter. U.S. authorities are aware that North Korean missiles are technically able to reach the U.S. bases in Japan and Guam.
The first missile launch occurred almost at 6 a.m. The Musudan ballistic missile flew over the Sea of Japan, and as it was reaching the 150-kilometer mark, it exploded in the air. The second missile was launched two hours later. It managed to come to an altitude of over 1,000 kilometers before sinking in the sea. These weapons account as the fifth and sixth attempts to fire a Musudan-class missile.
Escalating tensions in the Sea of Japan
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) June 22, 2016
South Korea also conducted military exercises, specifically using Cobra AH-1S and Apache helicopters, used by South Korea and the U.S. respectively. The exercise consisted in a hypothetical scenario where South Korea was assaulted by North Korean armored vehicles. Currently, there are 28,500 U.S. soldiers stationed in South Korea. It is worth noting that North and South Korea are in a truce instead of a peace treaty, which means that both countries are, technically, still at war.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that Japan would “never forgive” the test, as he noted that the launch violated U.N. Resolutions. Abe also said that Japan would continue to work with the U.S. and South Korea to make sure North Korea does not incur in performing similar actions in the future.
Japanese government officials assured that the missile launches did not pose a viable threat to Japan, but that meetings will take place to design actions to protect their country at any cost.
— RT (@RT_com) June 21, 2016
The Musudan missiles are North Korea’s best bet in an effective long-range nuclear weapon. U.S. military officials argue that the recent launches did not succeed in proving that the missile was able to hit a target effectively. Musudan missiles are movable, and as former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill assures: “We know precisely where they are, but if this things pops out [of] a forest we don’t.”
A previous launch test of Musudan missiles occurred back in April to celebrate the birthday of North Korea’s founding father, Kim Il Sung. Musudan missiles are based on old Soviet designs, and the recent launch tests may indicate financial struggles for the DPRK since they have been pretty much isolated from the international financial system due to several sanctions from the U.N.