Tit-for-tat missile tests as Koreas' arms race escalateSWorld | REUTERS 16 Sep 2021
Both North Korea and South Korea test fired ballistic missiles yesterday, the latest volley in an arms race that has seen both countries develop increasingly sophisticated weapons while efforts for talks on defusing tension prove fruitless.
South Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, becoming the first country without nuclear weapons to develop such a system. Its President Moon Jae In was attending that test firing when word came of North Korean launches.
North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles that landed in the sea off its east coast, according to officials in South Korea and Japan, just days after it tested a cruise missile with possible nuclear capabilities.
The country has been steadily developing its weapons systems amid a standoff over talks aimed at dismantling its missile arsenals in return for US sanctions relief. The negotiations, initiated in 2018, have stalled since 2019.
The US military's Indo-Pacific Command said North Korea's missile launches did not pose an immediate threat to US personnel, territory, or allies, but highlight the destabilizing impact of its illicit weapons program.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the missile launch "outrageous" and a threat to peace and security in the region.
China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily briefing that Beijing hoped "relevant parties" would "exercise restraint."