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Why North Korea’s Missile Launches Are ‘Business as Usual’

On Saturday, March 21, North Korea fired a pair of short-range ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan. The missiles were fired from a site near Sonchon in North Pyongyang province and traveled around 410 kilometers, reaching an altitude of around 50 km. The launch was North Korea’s third missile test of the year, beginning with the first test on March 1.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff criticized the launch, stating “such military action by North Korea is highly inappropriate at a time when COVID-19 is causing difficulties worldwide.”

Reports suggest that North Korean officials have been secretly asking for international help to increase coronavirus testing as the pandemic threatens to cripple an already vulnerable nation. Another report claims that 200 soldiers are dead and another 4,000 are in quarantine. Clearly, North Korea is not immune to the crisis.

Why Kim Is Testing Missiles Now:

However, it would be incorrect to assume that North Korea would change its policy because of the crisis. In fact, quite the opposite is true. It is in times of crisis that Kim Jong-un would find missile tests ‘highly appropriate’ to project strength to his people.

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