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North Korea Continues Missile Barrage With Short-Range Launch

Men walk past a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a ballistic missile off its east coast, in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 3, 2022.
Men walk past a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a ballistic missile off its east coast, in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 3, 2022.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile Wednesday, South Korea's military reported, adding to Pyongyang's unprecedented barrage that has heightened military tensions in Northeast Asia.

The short-range missile was launched from the Sukchon area, just north of the capital Pyongyang, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Japan's coast guard noted the missile appears to have been in the air for less than five minutes before landing in the sea off Korea's east coast.

Last week, North Korea fired 34 ballistic missiles, including some that prompted air raid alerts and shelter warnings in South Korea and Japan.

Debris from one of the missiles, which landed near South Korean waters, was later recovered by the South Korean Navy using a remotely operated underwater vehicle.

South Korea's defense ministry on Wednesday released pictures of the recovered missile parts, some of which contained Russian writing.

South Korean officials say the debris appears to share features with an SA-5 surface-to-air missile designed by the Soviet Union. Russia has recently used a similar missile during its war in Ukraine, noted South Korean officials.

North Korea has close diplomatic and military links with Russia. Those ties have improved in recent years, as each country's relationship with the United States has soured.

Last week, the United States accused North Korea of supplying Russia with thousands of artillery shells for its Ukraine war. On Tuesday, North Korea denied the accusation, saying the United States was trying to "tarnish" its reputation.

Over the past year, North Korea has taken a more adversarial approach toward the United States and its allies. It has also launched over 70 missiles.

North Korea said its launches last week were a response to U.S.-South Korea joint military drills. The drills have been ramped up this year in response to increased North Korean tests.

Though the U.S.-South Korea joint aerial drills ended Saturday, North Korea's military on Monday said it would continue to respond with "resolute and overwhelming" measures.

Many analysts say North Korea is reverting to a well-worn strategy — creating a sense of crisis to help improve its bargaining position before possibly engaging in talks with the United States.

Under the administration of President Joe Biden, U.S. officials have said they are open to talks without preconditions, but that the goal must be the eventual denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

However, North Korea has ignored all such calls. Instead, it passed a new law in September further enshrining its nuclear weapons status, with leader Kim Jong Un vowing to never give up his nukes or use them as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

U.S. and South Korean officials for months have warned that North Korea appears to have finished preparations for a nuclear test — a move that would further ramp up regional military tensions.