The alleged photo of the January 17 North Korean SRBM test shared on social media.InternationalIndiaAfricaNorth Korea has long claimed its missile and nuclear weapons programs are meant purely for defense, saying it would give up both if the South and the United States agreed to peace and to the removal of US troops from the Korean Peninsula. Peace talks in 2019 failed after the US refused to incrementally lower economic sanctions.The South Korean military leadership told the press late on Thursday that a projectile had been detected flying into the Yellow Sea from Nampo in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which was later identified as a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) of unknown type. They added that more might have been fired, but were unsure.While most DPRK missile tests are conducted in the wide Sea of Japan to the peninsula’s east, this test was fired westward into waters bordered by China, the socialist state’s primary ally.The Korean People’s Army (KPA) has developed a variety of SRBMs in recent years in response to the arrival of new US air defense systems in South Korea, where Washington maintains a garrison of 28,000 troops. The missiles have a depressed trajectory designed to evade those air defenses, and are believed to only carry conventional warheads, as it’s unclear if the DPRK has mastered miniaturization of nuclear warheads.The launch, just one of several in recent months, comes days after the US Air Force carried out a highly publicized military drill in which it flew B-52 Stratofortress bombers over South Korea. The massive eight-engine aircraft can hauls tons of bombs, including nuclear weapons and cruise missiles.AsiaNorth Korea Test-Fired Four Cruise Missiles in Latest Show of ‘War Posture’23 February, 21:45 GMTPyongyang often times its missile tests to coincide with US-South Korea military exercises, which it strongly protests as threatening the fragile ceasefire that has existed since 1953. The two sides never signed a permanent peace treaty ending the civil war that started in 1950, and the US-South Korea drills often rehearse strikes against the North.
"The threat of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula becomes real due to the irresponsible actions of the US and South Korea," Pyongyang said in a recent statement.
A set of massive war games named Freedom Shield and Warrior Shield, involving thousands of US and South Korean troops, are also set to kick off next week.On Tuesday, the US conducted its first static test of the LGM-35A Sentinel, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that will one day replace the Minuteman III as the US’ primary silo-based nuclear weapons platform. Such missiles are based in the US, though, not abroad.