What Happened: North Korea has allegedly test launched several short-range missiles from the country’s east coast in Wonsan toward the Sea of Japan, Yonhap reported May 4. Both U.S. and South Korean officials are currently analyzing the missiles, which remain unidentified but traveled 70-200 kilometers (about 43 miles to 124 miles).
Why It Matters: If confirmed, this would be the first North Korean missile launch test since November 2017. However, it would not technically violate North Korea’s de facto testing moratorium, which applies to only intercontinental and medium-range missiles. While such short-range missiles would less concerning to the United States than that of longer-range missiles, the test nonetheless risks upsetting the already-faltering outreach between Washington and Pyongyang.
Background: The U.S.-North Korea diplomatic path toward denuclearization has been somewhat in question following the unexpected February breakdown of the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un in late February. However, Kim has appeared to affirm his commitment to outreach since then, saying his country would remain on the diplomatic track until the end of the year.