The two Koreas on Monday restored their hotlines that the North severed months ago, with Pyongyang urging Seoul to step up efforts to improve relations after criticising what it called double standards over weapons development. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness last week to reactivate the hotlines, which North Korea cut off in early August in protest against joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
North Korea has claimed it has developed a new hypersonic missile following a test flight on Tuesday. If true, it would represent a significant step forward in Pyongyang’s military technology. The North’s announcement came a day after the South Korean and Japanese militaries said they detected North Korea firing a ballistic missile into the sea. Hypersonic missiles are incredibly fast at more than five times the speed of sound.
North Korea has fired a projectile presumed to be a short-range missile into waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, according to statements from South Korean officials — just hours before Seoul launched a new submarine. The missile was fired around 6:40 a.m. local time Tuesday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, adding the South Korean military is “maintaining a readiness posture” for potential “additional launches.”
North Korea said Thursday it successfully launched ballistic missiles from a train for the first time and was continuing to bolster its defenses, after the two Koreas test-fired missiles hours apart in dueling displays of military might. Wednesday’s launches underscored a return of the tensions between the rivals amid a prolonged stalemate in U.S.-led talks aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea says it successfully test fired what it described as newly developed long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, its first known testing activity in months that underscored how it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States. The Korean Central News Agency said Monday the cruise missiles, which had been under development for two years, successfully hit targets.
Civil defense forces carrying rifles and personnel wearing gas masks and red hazmat suits paraded North Korea’s capital overnight in a celebration of the nation’s 73rd anniversary that was a marked departure from past militaristic displays. While the North’s last two parades featured provocative strategic weapons threatening the United States and Asian rivals, there was no immediate indication that the latest parade showcased ballistic weapons.
North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor that is widely believed to have produced plutonium for nuclear weapons, the UN atomic watchdog has said in an annual report. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has had no access to North Korea since Pyongyang expelled its inspectors in 2009. The country then pressed ahead with its nuclear weapons program and soon resumed nuclear testing. Its last nuclear test was in 2017.
South Korea and the United States should pay a price for going ahead with annual joint military drills due to begin this week, Kim Yo Jong, a powerful North Korean official and sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said on Tuesday. South Korea and the United States began preliminary training on Tuesday and larger, computer-simulated exercises are scheduled for next week, military sources told Reuters.
The leaders of North and South Korea restored suspended communication channels between them and agreed to improve ties, both governments said Tuesday, amid a two-and-a-half year-stalemate in U.S.-led diplomacy aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear weapons. Since April, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in exchanged personal letters several times and decided to normalize the cross-border communication channels.
Kim Jong-un has berated top officials over lapses which caused a “grave incident” related to Covid-19, North Korean state media report. It was a rare sign of the pandemic’s severity in North Korea, which previously insisted it had no Covid cases – a claim doubted by experts. The country has closed its borders to keep out the virus. But coupled with international sanctions, this has led to food shortages and a worsening economy.