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HomeWorld NewsNorth Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles after reporting COVID outbreak

North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles after reporting COVID outbreak

The veil of dread has reached new heights as North Korea fired not one, not two, but three ballistic missiles following its announcement of its first COVID-19 outbreak on Thursday, which was described as the “gravest national emergency.” 

The first public admission of COVID illnesses underlines the risk of a severe crisis in a country with already limited medical resources that has denied international assistance with vaccinations and kept its borders closed.

As the wave of caution for Covid overtakes the North and borders close, even the notorious Kim Jung Un takes precautions by wearing masks during meetings. In contrast, in past meetings during the pandemic, he would make everyone around him wear a mask. 

For more than two years, Kim has enforced tight restrictions to curb COVID, including a travel ban between provinces. According to the latest WHO data, 64,207 of North Korea’s 25 million people had gotten tested and received negative results in late March. Due to the seemingly non-existent nature of Covid in the North, it had declined vaccine supplies from the COVAX sharing program and refused the Sinovac Biotech vaccine from China.

Tension between the newly elected South President, Yoon Suk-yeol, and North Korean leader, Kim Jung Un, seemed to simmer after Yoon threw a tempting offer toward North Korea, inciting that North Korea’s weapons programs pose a threat to the nation. Still, the South is ready to provide an “audacious” economic plan if the North is committed to denuclearisation.

The office of Yoon Suk-yeol, who was sworn in on Tuesday, said it would not link humanitarian aid to political differences with North Korea. However, the North made their position obvious when they launched the missiles following their admission of a potential Covid outbreak. Following the launches, Yoon’s national security officials issued a statement condemning the launch, saying it “deplored the duplicitous conduct” of firing ballistic missiles and ignoring the plight of its people in the middle of a COVID outbreak.

As tensions rise, not only with the South but also with Japan, the North continues to expedite its weapons programs while they’re both isolated and in a weakened state. The North has fired sixteen known weapons since the start of 2022. The three missiles launched today were labeled as short-range ballistic missiles.

 South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff claimed the missiles were fired at around 18:30 (0930 GMT) from the Sunan area of the North’s capital, Pyongyang, where an international airport is located, not to mention where the North had said it fired its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-17, on March 24.

Nobuo Kishi, Japan’s Defense Minister, also confirmed the launch, saying the missiles traveled 350 kilometers and reached a maximum height of roughly 100 kilometers before falling beyond Japan’s territorial seas.

As the North enters into another lockdown, this one might be different from before. As tensions rise with countries, it seems as if the North is using Covid to cover its tracks. In recent weeks, U.S. and South Korean officials said Pyongyang’s first nuclear test since 2017 could occur as early as this month.

As terror and tension continue to zero in on North Korea, it continues to bulldoze through what most of the world believes to be inhumane to its citizens. 



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