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North and South Korea test missiles hours apart, in a dueling display of military prowess

Tensions are rising on the Korean peninsula

Published: September 15, 2021 8:46am

Updated: September 15, 2021 9:49am

North and South Korea conducted ballistic missile tests just hours apart Wednesday in a display that will likely exacerbate tensions between the military rivals.

The presidential office of South Korea said that the country conducted its first submarine-launched ballistic missile test, in which a domestically manufactured missile launched from a submarine and struck its intended target as the country's leaders observed.

President Moon Jae-in says he is certain that the country's increased missile capabilities will serve as a "deterrence against North Korean provocation."

Prior to the South's weapons test, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea. That firing occurred just days after the North said it fired a newly developed cruise missile.

The North is apparently seeking to demonstrate its weapons capabilities to apply pressure on the U.S. to alleviate some of the sanctions that have been imposed on the country in an effort to force an abandonment of its nuclear program.

Moon Seong Mook, an analyst with the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy said North Korea believes there is an open opportunity to pressure the Biden administration to cave to certain demands while the U.S. president is embroiled in a domestic scandal following the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"North Korea is trying to communicate a message that things will not go as Washington wishes, if it doesn’t accept the North’s demands," he said. 

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