North Korea has conducted its largest missile test so far this year. On 5 June they launched eight missiles possibly ranging from their KN-23 missile modeled after Russia’s Iskander ballistic missile. To their hypersonic missile systems that were showcased last month during the KPA’s anniversary parade. The missiles were launched into waters off the coast of North Korea. The missiles reached speeds varying from Mach 3 to Mach 6 with a max range of 50 to 400 miles with altitudes ranging from 15 to 56 miles before falling back to Earth.
The missile test comes on the heels of another missile test that was conducted back on 25 May where an alleged ICBM was tested. In response joint Korean and U.S forces conducted missile exercises with the M270 MLRS systems with the South Korean Ministry of Defense stating that “The South Korea-U.S. combined firing of the ground-to-ground missiles demonstrated the capability and posture to launch immediate precision strikes on the origins of provocations and their command and support forces.”
This marks an increasing tempo in missile tests by North Korea and in reactions by ROK/US forces in the region. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff went on to state that any provocations made by the Kim regime in Pyongyang will be met with “corresponding” reactions. South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol will continue bolstering the country’s extended deterrence and joint defense posture with the U.S. including U.S.-ROK missile defense drills. The statement went on to state that these tests are simply a way for the North Koreans to test and challenge the newly elected South Korean government’s readiness to meet the DPRK’s provocations. It is yet to be seen how far these tests and provocations will go, especially as experts warn that these tests and training exercises could be a prelude to a new nuclear test. Which in turn led to a further escalation of tensions on the peninsula.
Header image: South Korea-US joint launch of surface-to-surface missiles (ROK MOD)