North Korean missile tests threaten commercial shipping safety, says UN agency

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North Korean missile tests are increasingly posing a significant threat to the safety of commercial shipping in the busy northeastern Asian sea lanes, with inadequate notice given, according to a resolution adopted by over 100 countries at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) security committee.

Yesterday, May 31, saw the nuclear-armed nation’s sixth satellite launch failed and prompted emergency alerts and evacuation warnings in parts of South Korea and Japan.

The resolution “strongly” condemned the missile tests as they “seriously threatened the safety of seafarers and international shipping.” North Korea rejected the resolution, which was submitted by countries including the United States, South Korea, and Japan. The state argued that the missile tests “constitute routine and planned self-defensive measures taken by a sovereign state to defend the national security.”

North Korea also stated that it is “not in a position to be able to provide prior notification of its military exercises and self-defensive measures.” Furthermore, the country claimed that the missile launches were “based on the accurate scientific calculation and consideration of their point of impact and the routes of ships voyaging in the waters.”

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Several other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and Vanuatu, also submitted the paper. The international community continues to express concerns over North Korea’s missile tests and their potential impact on regional stability and global security.

Two weeks ago, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly inspected the nation’s first military spy satellite and given the go-ahead for its future action plan, according to state media. Kim met with the Non-permanent Satellite Launch Preparatory Committee and viewed the satellite, following his announcement a month ago that the satellite’s construction was completed and ready for launch.

The development of the military reconnaissance satellite was one of the key defence projects outlined by Kim in 2021. In December 2022, North Korea claimed to have carried out an important final-stage test for the satellite, with plans to complete it by April this year. However, experts in South Korea have raised doubts about the results, citing the poor quality of black-and-white images purportedly taken from the satellite, reported Channel News Asia.

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Sara is a journalist and content writer who specializes in lifestyle, wellness, and travel topics. Sara's journey in journalism began as a copywriter, and over time, her portfolio expanded to include articles and features for some of the nation's top lifestyle publications. Outside the office, she enjoys practising yoga and exploring hidden locations in Bangkok.

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