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A failed missile test by North Korea occurred close to Pyongyang:

Image Source: CNN

On Monday, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles, prompting concerns due to an abnormal flight trajectory that potentially led one missile to fall inland, possibly near Pyongyang, South Korea’s military reported. The first missile traveled approximately 600 kilometers (373 miles), classified as a short-range ballistic missile by South Korea, while the second missile covered a significantly shorter distance of 120 kilometers (75 miles). The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) noted that the second missile displayed anomalies early in its flight, raising the possibility of an abnormal trajectory or even an explosion mid-flight, though no damage has been confirmed thus far.

The launch site for these missiles was identified as the Changyon-gun area in South Hwanghae province, about 130 kilometers (81 miles) southwest of Pyongyang. If the second missile indeed exploded after traveling northeast from this launch point, debris could have potentially landed near Pyongyang, a city with over 3 million residents.

These developments come amidst a backdrop of heightened geopolitical tensions, with North Korea recently claiming technological advancements in missile capabilities despite contradictory statements from South Korea disputing their claims. The launches coincide with ongoing meetings of North Korea’s ruling Worker’s Party, suggesting strategic signaling domestically and internationally.

The Kim regime’s motivations likely include bolstering internal political legitimacy and demonstrating military prowess amid joint military exercises involving the United States, South Korea, and Japan. These exercises, termed “Freedom Edge,” have drawn criticism from North Korea, which perceives them as provocative acts.

Despite intermittent diplomatic engagements and relative thawing in relations between North and South Korea in recent years, military tensions persist due to North Korea’s persistent weapons testing and defiance of international sanctions.

As both Koreas navigate complex alliances—North Korea with Russia and South Korea with Japan and the United States—the strategic calculus in the region remains delicate, with implications for regional stability and global security.

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