Newsdeck

Newsdeck

North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles after reporting Covid-19 outbreak

North Korea fires 3 ballistic missiles after reporting Covid-19 outbreak
The meeting of the 8th Political Bureau of 8th Central Committee of the WPK, convened at the office building of the Party Central Committee in Pyongyang, North Korea, 12 May 2022. Kim Jong-un (C), general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), presented at the meeting, held to organize the government's response to an outbreak of Covid-19 in Pyongyang. EPA-EFE/KCNA.

SEOUL, May 12 (Reuters) - North Korea fired three ballistic missiles toward the sea off its east coast on Thursday, South Korea said, in the latest such move by the isolated country racing to advance its weapons programmes on the day it first reported a Covid-19 outbreak.

Japan’s coastguard also confirmed the launch of a ballistic missile by North Korea, citing its military. The projectile appeared to fall outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, public broadcaster NHK said.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said three short-range ballistic missiles were fired from the Sunan area of the North’s capital, Pyongyang, where an international airport is located and where the North had said it fired its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-17, on March 24.

The firing was the first after the inauguration of conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol this week, who has signalled a hard line against the North’s weapons development.

Yoon’s office said it immediately convened a meeting of its national security council.

The launch, the North’s 16th known weapons test this year, also came hours after it reported its first coronavirus outbreak, declaring “gravest national emergency” and ordering a national lockdown.

In its last weapons test on Saturday, the North used a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which it has been aggressively developing in recent years.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed late last month to expedite the country’s buildup of nuclear arsenal, amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States.

U.S. and South Korean officials have said Pyongyang’s first nuclear test since 2017 could take place as early as this month.

By Hyonhee Shin

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Alison Williams)

Gallery

"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox

Download the Daily Maverick Elections Toolbox.

+ Your election day questions answered
+ What's different this election
+ Test yourself! Take the quiz