North Korea resumed testing missiles Sunday as the world’s attention focused on the invasion of Ukraine by Russian, an ally of the totalitarian nation.
Pyongyang fired a suspected ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan for the eighth time this year, according to South Korea and Japan.
The missile launch was the first since the end of the Winter Olympics in China, which is the country’s financial conduit and top diplomatic partner.
North Korea’s war drills appeared to be aimed at pressuring the US into offering sanction relief connected to its ramped up nuclear program, after negotiations between the nations to shut it down stalled in 2019.
Experts said Washington’s preoccupation with halting Russia’s invasion might be empowering the North to accelerate its pressure campaign.
“North Korea is not going to do anyone the favor of staying quiet while the world deals with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.
“Pyongyang has an ambitious schedule of military modernization. The Kim regime’s strength and legitimacy have become tied to testing ever better missiles.”
Officials in South Korea planned an emergency national security council meeting to discuss the North’s renewed aggression.
With AP wires