While the whole world is trying to ward off the threats of COVID-19, North Korea is going ahead with testing of its arsenal. In fact, the latest one is the country’s fourth weapons test this month and it happened within a week of President Trump sending a letter to Kim Jong-un with an offer of help to fight the Coronavirus. These tests involved different types of weapons including short-range ballistic missiles. Sources in the South Korean military say the launching was from the port city of Wonsan. The projectiles had a range of about 140 miles and landed in waters between North Korea and Japan.

This activity of the North has probably unnerved South Korea. It described it as “deeply inappropriate” especially when the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic. The South requested that its neighbor desist from acts of this nature.

The New York Times says South Korea military had issued a similar warning on the previous occasion. That was on March 21, when North Korea launched two missiles in the presence of Kim Jong-un. They were short-range ballistic missiles similar to a variety used by the Americans. The hermit kingdom appears to have restarted its military training. It had kept such exercises in abeyance for a long time but has resumed them now.

Coronavirus has spared North Korea

It might seem strange but coronavirus has spared North Korea that shares its boundary with China.

Pyongyang says it does not have any case of coronavirus. However, it was waging an all-out campaign against it. In the opinion of health experts, the North is not equipped to uncover an outbreak, or it does not want to disclose details. It is a secretive state and ferreting out the truth is not an easy affair.

​The New York Times mentions about a personal letter from Donald Trump to Kim Jong-un. The subject was the willingness of Washington to extend a helping hand to Pyongyang in its fight against coronavirus. Kim expressed thanks to Trump for the letter and added that their personal relationship would not improve the ties of the two countries.

North Korea did refrain from carrying out weapons tests in 2018. That was the period when diplomacy between the two countries was at its peak. Once the second round of talks in Hanoi failed, Kim reactivated his weapons program. He went to the extent of saying that his country was no longer interested in diplomacy with Washington. North Korea indicated its position by distancing itself from nuclear talks with the United States. It was all about sanctions versus denuclearization.

North Korea goes ahead with its military drills

According to The Guardian, the North launched its eighth and ninth missiles this month. It appears to be unperturbed by coronavirus and continues with its military drills.

Kim Jong-un is usually present during such exercises. An observer says this month would be one when North Korea launched the most number of missiles. He adds – “Coming this early in the year, the only time we’ve seen tests this frequently were in 2016 and 2017, both of which were huge years for North Korea’s missile program.” Kim had said that his country is working on a new “strategic weapon.” It could be unveiled this year. Incidentally, the United States and its ally South Korea have postponed parts of their joint military exercises in view of the coronavirus outbreak in Seoul.

Sanctions on North Korea

United Nations Security Council have clamped sanctions on North Korea because of its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

These are hurting the economy of the country and it will have to take a decision to abandon these activities. That has been the gist of talks held between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore, Hanoi and the DMZ. A solution has yet to emerge.

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