In the first month of the year, North Korea launched as many as seven missiles. It is despite its shaky economy because of international sanctions.

Analysts say the actions of Pyongyang tend to suggest that Kim Jong-un wants to send out a message to the world at large. The message is that his country remains a player in the global scenario. Pyongyang wants the world to recognize its potential in the words of a knowledgeable person of South Korea. It wants to be treated at par with responsible nuclear power.

The seven missiles launched were different, including an IRBM.

This is an intermediate-range ballistic missile and is believed to have a range that could threaten the U.S. island territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. Kim Jong-un is determined to prove to the world that North Korea is a power that cannot be ignored. It can challenge others and has shown its capabilities and determination to keep building missiles despite sanctions. In August 2021, a media report said North Korea was reactivating its nuclear facilities.

Change of guard in Seoul could pose a challenge to North Korea

There are possibilities of a government change in Seoul in March. The result will decide the fate of President Moon Jae-in, who is now in the seat. Analysts say the new government could take a tougher stand against the North.

Moreover, South Korea could opt for the first strike against a perceived threat.

Moon Jae-in held summits with Kim and former U.S. President Donald Trump. However, the next government might have other ideas. That is the opinion of a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul. Incidentally, Kim certainly got the attention of Moon with the IRBM test.

South Korea and Japan confirmed the hypersonic missile test by North Korea.

The U.S. has kept North Korea on the back burner

Responses of Washington to the latest missile launches of North Korea are different from those of 2017 when Donald Trump was the U.S. President. The Biden administration has shelved North Korea because of other more critical issues.

These include China, Taiwan, and Ukraine, apart from the pandemic.

However, an official of the United States revealed that talks between Washington and Pyongyang could happen at a lower level than between Biden and Kim. It would be in sharp contrast to Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un's meetings. Then, they met in Singapore, Hanoi, and at the DMZ, and the world hoped for a solution to the problem in the Korean Peninsula. However, they failed to arrive at a mutually acceptable formula because of a clash of interests.

Multiple missile launches by North Korea is political signaling of strength

North Korea launched an intermediate-range Hwasong-12 missile. This month, it was the seventh test and the biggest missile launch since 2017.

Japan and South Korea confirmed that it reached a maximum altitude of 1242 miles (2,000 Km) and came down in the Sea of Japan or East Sea. Both the countries condemned the launch. However, it continues to defy the ban, and Kim Jong-un wants to bolster his country's defenses.

A senior U.S. official called North Korea to join direct talks with no preconditions. In his words – "We believe it is completely appropriate and completely correct to start having some serious discussions." The multiple launches of missiles could be an effort to exert pressure on the U.S. to restart the long-stalled nuclear talks. It could also be the practical need for testing new engineering and military command systems.