North Korea has again conducted weapons tests shortly before the end of the year, according to information from Seoul. South Korea's military said Saturday that North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan around 8 a.m. local time (0 CET). The missiles were launched in Chunghwa County in northern Hwanghae Province, and flew about 350 kilometers, it added. "Our military maintains a posture of complete readiness," South Korea's General Staff said.
Secluded North Korea is steadily expanding its arsenal of weapons as well as its nuclear capabilities, and the communist leadership in Pyongyang has repeatedly threatened military escalation in the region. On Monday, several North Korean drones entered South Korea's airspace in the border regions around Gyeonggi Province - one of them flew near the capital Seoul.
UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles of any range. Such missiles can also be equipped with a nuclear warhead, depending on their design.
This year, North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of weapons tests, including the launch of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile to date in November.
North Korea's strongman Kim Jong-un had declared this year that he wanted to make his country the "strongest nuclear power in the world." The two Korean states have not signed a peace treaty since the Korean War (1950-53).
Image by Charn Lee