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What’s Happening with North Korea’s Missiles?

The Basics and First Reactions

North Korea’s recent action has spiked tensions in the South China Sea. They’ve launched short-range missiles into the sea right as US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was getting ready to talk democracy in South Korea. This is big news because it happened just after the US and South Korea finished their big military practice called Freedom Shield, which North Korea really doesn’t like. They see it as a threat, like the US and South Korea are practicing for an invasion.

Toy rocket isolated on a white background

Launch Details

The US military team that watches the skies said North Korea shot a missile into the East Sea (that’s what South Korea calls the Sea of Japan). Japan’s Coast Guard noticed the missiles landing, which means North Korea’s launch worked. This missile launch is part of a bunch of weapons tests North Korea’s been doing, showing they’re not happy about the US and South Korea working together militarily.

Why Freedom Shield Drills Bug North Korea

What Are These Drills?

Freedom Shield is a big military practice the US and South Korea do together. This time, about 27,000 US troops in South Korea took part. North Korea gets really upset about these drills. They say it’s like the US and South Korea are rehearsing to invade. This year, they used twice as many troops as last year, which made North Korea warn about how tense things are getting.

Democracy Talks in the Midst of Military Moves

Blinken and Yoon Talk Democracy

While all this military stuff was going on, there was a big meeting about democracy where Antony Blinken and the South Korean President, Yoon Suk-yeol, talked about how technology can both help and hurt democracy. This chat happened right when North Korea was doing its missile tests, making the situation more complicated. It shows how military actions and talking about democracy are all tangled up.

A TikTok Ban Debate

They also talked about a new law in the US to ban TikTok, which shows they’re worried about how tech affects democracy. This democracy meeting, started by US President Joe Biden, got some side-eye for not inviting everyone, showing it’s hard to get everyone to agree on what democracy should look like.

So, North Korea’s missile launches are causing a stir in the South China Sea, especially with the US-South Korea military drills and democracy talks going on. It’s a mix of showing off military strength, diplomatic talks, and debates on technology’s role in society.

Military armored personnel carriers in the woods during military exercises. Clip. Top view of


  • What triggered North Korea to launch missiles into the South China Sea?
  • North Korea launched missiles as a show of defiance against the US-South Korea Freedom Shield military drills, which it views as rehearsal for an invasion. The timing was also significant as it coincided with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to South Korea for a democracy summit.
  • What are the Freedom Shield drills?
  • The Freedom Shield drills are joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, designed to strengthen their defense partnership. This year, about 27,000 US troops participated, doubling the number from the previous year, leading to increased tensions with North Korea.
  • What was discussed at the Summit for Democracy?
  • The Summit for Democracy, attended by Antony Blinken and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol among others, focused on the role of technology in supporting and undermining democratic values. Discussions also covered concerns about technology’s impact on democracy, including the debate over a US bill to ban TikTok.
  • Why is North Korea opposed to the US-South Korea military drills?
  • North Korea sees the US-South Korea military drills, such as the Freedom Shield, as direct threats to its sovereignty. It interprets these exercises as preparations for an invasion, heightening its military and diplomatic responses to showcase its own defense capabilities.
  • How does the Summit for Democracy relate to North Korea’s missile launches?
  • While the Summit for Democracy primarily focused on diplomatic discussions about democracy and technology, North Korea’s missile launches during the summit highlighted the ongoing tension and complex relationship between military actions and diplomatic efforts in the region. The juxtaposition of these events underscores the challenges in addressing security concerns while promoting democratic values on the international stage.

Sources Aljazeera

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