North Korea tests missiles ahead of South Korean presidential election. South Korea’s military said Saturday (March 5) that North Korea fired a suspected ballistic missile into its eastern waters that morning. In four days, South Korea will hold a presidential election.
North Korea tests missiles ahead of South Korean presidential election
The South Korean military said North Korea fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile from the Sunan area in Pyongyang. North Korea also conducted a test there on Saturday, which it said was in preparation for an upcoming satellite launch.
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the missile flew about 300 kilometers and reached an altitude of 550 kilometers. The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force said the missile splashed in waters outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
North Korea has conducted nine rounds of missile tests this year and has launched at least 13 missiles.
These weapons tests are mainly based on short-range missiles. However, in recent months, North Korea has repeatedly said that a satellite launch will be carried out soon. The move is believed to significantly raise tensions on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea insists the satellite launch was for peaceful purposes, but the United States, Japan and South Korea believe it was a camouflaged long-range missile test.
A series of resolutions passed by the UN Security Council prohibit North Korea from engaging in any ballistic missile activity, including conducting missile tests of any range.
North Korea’s latest weapons test comes just four days before South Korea’s presidential election. While North Korea was not the focus of the election, presidential candidates warned against launching missiles or engaging in other provocations aimed at influencing the outcome of the vote.
South Korean presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung posted on Facebook condemning the North Korean launch. He said his government would “never tolerate tension-making behavior.”
Lee Jae-myung, a former governor of Gyeonggi Province, is running neck and neck with the main conservative candidate, former South Korean attorney general Yoon Seok-wook, in the current general election.
Several other motivations for North Korea’s missile tests include strengthening domestic political support for leader Kim Jong Un and ensuring the performance of new weapons and a demonstration of deterrence.