Kim launches missile test as show of might as the US dispatches submarine to South Korea

Kim Jong-un

In an apparent protest against the deployment of US Navy vessels in the region, North Korea has fired at least one ballistic missile into the ocean.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea withheld information regarding the missile’s launch location and flight duration.

They asserted that the launch occurred just hours after the USS Annapolis, a nuclear-powered US submarine, docked at Jeju Island, the largest island in South Korea.

The US has steadily increased its presence in the waters east of the Korean peninsula, part of its own show of force amid signs of Pyongyang’s growing willingness to conduct nuclear attacks.

Just last week, a nuclear-armed submarine, the USS Kentucky, became the first such vessel to come to South Korea in more than forty years.

North Korea responded in much the same way, again test-firing ballistic and cruise missiles in an apparent attempt to demonstrate its capacity to strike both the US vessels and South Korean territory.

The tests were accompanied by strong words from despotic leader Kim Jong-un, who warned such increased presence would likely meet the hermit kingdom’s criteria for a nuclear attack.

Both Korean nations have continued to ramp up military drills in recent months.

Experts have warned that further proof-testing of new missile designs within North Korean territory also risks contaminating the country’s water supply.

Dr Olli Heinonen, formerly director general of nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency, previously said: ‘Water from melting snow and rain can enter in through cracks and wash out fission products and plutonium.

‘It can transport it with the groundwater, into a small river passing the [test] site, and on to agricultural sites and towns downstream.’

He added: ‘Such contamination could enter into food chains and accumulate in agriculture products, fish, meat and eventually in people.’

In the 1990s, a devastating famine is estimated to have killed as many as three million people in North Korea.

According to testimony from people living under the Kim regime, the situation is now almost as dire as it was then, following the government’s decision to seal its borders in 2020, cutting off vital supplies.

Nuclear contamination would further exacerbate food shortages in a country where, due to the government’s strict informational policing, an unknown portion of some 26 million people are likely facing starvation.


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