[Representational image]Creative Commons

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said North Korea on Monday, March 6, launched several missiles that fell into the sea, in a move that is being viewed as a fresh show of power from the dictator-ruled country despite several sanctions on it. The development comes even as the Donald Trump administration in the US is reportedly planning "direct military action" to curb the nuclear threat from North Korea.

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What transpired

The Defence Ministry of South Korea has been quoted by news agencies as saying that it was "closely analysing" several ballistic missiles that North Korea launched from its base in Tongchang-ri at 7:36 am local time. At least three of them reached Japanese waters and fell into the Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone, said Abe.

The ministry said of the range of the missiles: "In terms of the range, it is around 1,000 kilometres." It added that it was "closely monitoring the North's military for further provocations and maintaining military readiness." This, it may be noted, was the first missile launch by North Korea since last month.

Nuclear fears

Kim Jong-un, the dictator who rules North Korea, had said in his New Year's speech this year that his country would soon test its first inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) – the kind that is often fitted with nuclear payloads across the world and used as a deterrent by most countries.

However, if North Korea – which has been posturing against many countries in general and the US in particular – indeed manages to test that ICBM, and the current missile launch was just preparation for it, the world indeed has cause for concern. After all, an isolated country managing to get its hands on nuclear technology and developing weapons based on it is never good news.