As North Korea gears up for potential nuclear test, missiles get little domestic fanfare

26/5/2022 3:00:00 PM

As North Korea gears up for potential nuclear test, missiles get little domestic fanfare

North Korea, Kim Jong-Un

As North Korea gears up for potential nuclear test, missiles get little domestic fanfare

SEOUL — North Korea n state media has kept quiet about a recent flurry of missile tests amid an unprecedented coronavirus wave — perhaps to avoid overshadowing a potential nuclear test, analysts say.

The rare near-simultaneous launch of multiple types of missiles came amid the country's first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak, which UN agencies say might bring a devastating crisis for its 25 million people.The tests show the North is committed to making technical progress on its weapons programmes, analysts say. But North Korea's state media, which would otherwise trumpet successful launches and the country's evolving nuclear and missile capability, has been unusually silent.

"As the North is also preparing for a new nuclear test, state media could be waiting to maximise its propaganda effect by refraining from publicising tests of missiles that were already unveiled," said Dr Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Sejong Institute's North Korea studies centre in South Korea.

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North Korea fires three ballistic missiles, says Seoul militarySEOUL: North Korea fired three ballistic missile s towards the Sea of Japan early on Wednesday (May 25), Seoul\u0027s military said, just one day after President Joe Biden wrapped up his first Asia visit as US leader. South Korea\u0027s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it had \u0022detected at around 06 COVID-19 has claimed lives around the world. North Koreans aren't vaccinated. For once let's cheer the virus on to rid the Earth of scum.

As North Korea gears up for potential nuclear test, missiles get little domestic fanfareSEOUL: North Korea n state media has kept quiet about a recent flurry of missile tests amid an unprecedented coronavirus wave - perhaps to avoid overshadowing a potential nuclear test, analysts say.

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North Korea launched three missiles on Wednesday (May 25), including its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the HS-17, prompting live-fire drills by the United States and South Korea and a renewed push for fresh UN sanctions.Copy to clipboard https://str.LinkedIn SEOUL: North Korea fired three ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan early on Wednesday (May 25), Seoul's military said, just one day after President Joe Biden wrapped up his first Asia visit as US leader.fresh UN sanctions .

The rare near-simultaneous launch of multiple types of missiles came amid the country's first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak, which UN agencies say might bring a devastating crisis for its 25 million people. The tests show the North is committed to making technical progress on its weapons programmes, analysts say. Japan’s Coast Guard also reported a suspected ballistic missile launch by North Korea. But North Korea's state media, which would otherwise trumpet successful launches and the country's evolving nuclear and missile capability, has been unusually silent. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that Tokyo was trying to confirm information about the launch. "As the North is also preparing for a new nuclear test, state media could be waiting to maximise its propaganda effect by refraining from publicising tests of missiles that were already unveiled," said Dr Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Sejong Institute's North Korea studies centre in South Korea. But they also offered to send Covid-19 vaccines as the isolated North is battling its first confirmed outbreak. The recent tests have not always been successful. The recent tests have not always been successful.

South Korea said the second of the three missiles fired on Wednesday, believed to be a KN-23 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) failed mid-flight. Yoon, who was sworn in earlier this month, has vowed to get tough with Pyongyang after five years of failed diplomacy. "These may be purely about making technical progress and, in the case of the suspected KN-23s, getting added operational experience," said Mr Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. South Korea's deputy national security adviser, Mr Kim Tae-hyo, said the ICBM test seemed to be aimed at checking the missile's stage separation and propulsion systems, and its general performance, while the SRBM launch could have been to improve its nuclear delivery capability. He also said there are signs that North Korea may have conducted multiple experiments with a detonation device in preparation for what would be its first nuclear test since 2017, though the test was unlikely to occur in the coming days. While in South Korea, Biden joined Yoon for talks, including discussing expanded military exercises to counter Kim's sabre rattling. "North Korea's nuclear programmes continue to be evolving," Mr Kim told reporters on Wednesday. Related: "North Korea's nuclear programmes continue to be evolving," Kim told reporters on Wednesday.

"The progress might not show a vertical ascent, but you have to constantly make checks and improvements." "That's why sanctions are important, and restraining or slowing that progress is our task," he added. On his last day in Seoul, Biden told reporters he had a only a short message for Kim:"Hello. Mr Panda noted the absence of coverage in Rodong Sinmun, the North's official newspaper that serves as its main domestic propaganda machine, which could suggest that Pyongyang was not seeking any"internal propaganda benefit" from those tests. The Sejong Institute's Cheong said the silence of state media might also be intended to minimise China's complaints and facilitate its Covid-19 aid. North Korea has not responded to South Korea and US offers of Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies but is receiving Chinese help, Seoul's intelligence agency told lawmakers last week. Related:. North Korea has not responded to South Korea and US offers of COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies but is receiving Chinese help, Seoul's intelligence agency told lawmakers last week.

"North Korea was in desperate need for Chinese support to tackle the Covid-19 wave and you wouldn't want to make them uncomfortable," Dr Cheong said. REUTERS Related topics .