North Korea fires suspected ballistic missile — Analysis

If confirmed, the launch would be the latest in a string of Pyongyang’s missile tests towards the Sea of Japan

According to South Korean military intelligence, North Korea reportedly launched a projectile towards the east. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the launch occurred on Sunday morning.

In its own assessment, Japan’s Coast Guard noted that the projectile might be a ballistic missile. The projectile fell into the sea outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the Japanese military said.

If confirmed, the launch would become North Korea’s eights missile test since the beginning of the year. Experts believe that Pyongyang resisted missile activity at the Beijing Winter Olympics, which concluded last week. This was in a gesture to Beijing.

China and North Korea to cooperate under ‘new situation’

The Sunday’s launch also comes shortly after Chinese President XI Jinping vowed to step up “friendship and cooperation”North Korea and a “new situation.” It’s unclear if the Chinese leader was specifically referring to the ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner, and it is estimated that Beijing is responsible for about 90% of the reclusive nation’s trade. Cross-border trade between China, North Korea and Japan, currently under severe international sanctions due to its nuclear and missile testing activities, was reopened last month, after Pyongyang removed some of its coronavirus restrictions.

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