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North Korea launches two ballistic missiles and the world is "holding its breath" from a new nuclear test

 North Korea launches two ballistic missiles and the world is "holding its breath" from a new nuclear test

South Korea's military said on Friday that Pyongyang had fired two short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of ​​Japan, as Seoul warned that Kim Jong Un may be on the verge of another nuclear test

For his part, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, announced yesterday that the world is "holding its breath" before a possible nuclear test by North Korea, which will be "a new confirmation" that its nuclear program is "advancing at full capacity

South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying that the two missiles were fired after midnight from North Korea's northeastern Gangwon Province towards the Sea of ​​Japan, also known as the East Sea, without providing further details

United Nations resolutions prohibit North Korea from conducting ballistic missile tests of any range, some of which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads

This missile launch comes after a meeting of the vice foreign ministers of the United States, Japan and South Korea who pledged to strengthen their deterrence in the region

During the meeting, South Korean official Cho Hyun-dong said, "We agreed to further enhance cooperation (...) so that North Korea immediately ends its illegal activities and resumes denuclearization talks

"The three countries agreed on the need for an unprecedentedly strong response if North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test," he told the press

Seoul and Washington have repeatedly warned that Pyongyang may be on the verge of another nuclear test, for the first time since 2017 after a series of ballistic missile launches in recent weeks

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warned that "all of these behaviors are extremely dangerous and destabilizing" and urged North Korea to "refrain from further provocations

'The world is holding its breath'

And the Director-General of the Atomic Energy Agency announced yesterday that the world was "holding its breath" before a possible nuclear test by North Korea, which was warned of months ago

"Everyone is holding their breath because another nuclear test will be new confirmation of a nuclear program that is moving in full force in an incredibly worrying way," Grossi told the press on the sidelines of the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

"More testing means, of course, that they are improving preparations and building their arsenal. So we are following closely. We hope that won't happen, but unfortunately the indications are pointing in the other direction

A missile flew over Japan last month. North Korea has also said it has conducted tactical nuclear exercises. The United States, Japan and South Korea warned Wednesday that a nuclear test by Pyongyang would trigger an "unprecedented response

The US Department of Defense (Pentagon) also warned in its new nuclear strategy - published Thursday - that a nuclear strike by North Korea would mean the "end of the regime" of Pyongyang

"Any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies and partners would be unacceptable and would lead to the end of this regime," the Pentagon said in the document. "There is no scenario in which the Kim regime can use nuclear weapons and stays

horror arsenal
The new North Korean missile test and warnings of it come to reminiscent of fears about the arsenal of ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads that Pyongyang possesses and has developed since the 1950s

After five decades of work on its nuclear program, Pyongyang conducted its first underground nuclear test in 2006, followed by several tests until young leader Kim Jong Un succeeded his father in 2011. The missile and nuclear programs witnessed rapid development during his reign

On September 9, 2016, Pyongyang conducted its fifth nuclear test. The system confirmed at the time that it had tested a nuclear warhead that could be installed on a long-range missile

Only two months later, North Korea announced that it had successfully tested a missile capable of reaching Alaska on the 4th of July (US National Day), and considered it a gift to the "American bastards

On September 3, 2017, Pyongyang conducted its sixth nuclear test, which was considered the most powerful, and the monitoring groups estimated the power of the bomb at 250 kilotons, which is 16 times the size of the American bomb (15 kilotons) that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945

On November 29 of the same year, North Korea tested a new ICBM "Hwasong-15" that can carry a "heavy warhead" capable of hitting the US mainland, according to Pyongyang. A few days later, the North Korean leader vowed to make his country "the most powerful nuclear power in the world

After that, Pyongyang's program of nuclear and ballistic missile tests went through several stages, ranging from freezing in the light of negotiations with Washington to its resumption of the stalled period of those negotiations

But in October 2020, Pyongyang unveiled the Hwasong-17 missile at a military parade, which was presented as the most powerful ICBM

Over the past two years, North Korea has conducted several tests of long and short-range missiles, and recently intensified those tests, the most prominent of which was on October 4, when it launched a ballistic missile with a medium-to-long range, according to the South Korean military

The missile flew over Japan for the first time since 2017, prompting Tokyo to activate the alert system and asking residents of some areas to take cover

Pyongyang does not declare the size of its nuclear warheads or ballistic missiles, and this type of weapon is not included in the statistics of the military strength of countries, which are usually prepared by unofficial bodies


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