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What to Make of North Korea’s First Missile Tests Under Biden

MIN READMar 25, 2021 | 20:28 GMT

TV screens show the launch of North Korean missiles on March 25, 2021, in Seoul, South Korea. 

(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

North Korea’s first ballistic missile test since U.S. President Joe Biden took office suggests that Pyongyang will seek to advance the development of key weapons systems without jeopardizing the prospect for long-term U.S. outreach or unifying the international community around a harder-line stance against the regime. On March 25, South Korean officials confirmed that North Korea had tested two devices, likely short-range ballistic missiles, early that morning from the eastern town of Hamju. The devices were both launched around 450 kilometers (280 miles) eastward into the Sea of Japan at an altitude of roughly 60 kilometers (37 miles). If confirmed to be a short-range system, such a test does not represent an escalation from those that North Korea conducted during former U.S. President Donald Trump’s term. The testing of ballistic missiles also technically violates U.N. resolutions but does not violate promises made during the Trump administration to refrain from intercontinental...

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