According to the military of South Korea, North Korea launched a short-range ballistic missile on Thursday from the western port city of Nampo. A few days prior to the beginning of joint military drills between South Korea and the United States, this incident took place. The two Koreas’ relationship has worsened recently as South Korea tightens its security ties with the US and North Korea conducts more aggressive weapons tests. Despite the US deploying additional resources to defend South Korea, North Korea declared itself a “irreversible” nuclear power last year and promised to boost the manufacturing of weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons. The potential that North Korea launched numerous short-range ballistic missiles simultaneously from the same area is currently being looked into by the South Korean military. The US and South Korea’s combined military exercises have drawn criticism from North Korea, which has claimed that its missile and nuclear programmes are for self-defense and has characterised them as preparations for an invasion. North Korea has accused the US of provoking tensions on purpose, and Kim Jong Un’s sister earlier this week issued a warning that intercepting any of Pyongyang’s missile tests would be seen as a “clear declaration of war.” Although collaborating closely with the US, the South Korean military has stepped up its surveillance and readiness. Diplomacy between the two nations has stopped since the failed summit between Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump in 2019, and North Korea has accelerated its weapons modernization. Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, has sought to improve relations and security coordination with Washington and Tokyo in response. The largest joint military exercises between the US and South Korea in the past five years will take place this month. Dubbed “Freedom Shield,” they will begin on March 13 and last at least 10 days. North Korea has threatened to react violently to these drills, and experts believe it may launch longer-range missiles, try to launch a spy satellite, show off a solid-fuel engine, or possibly perform a nuclear test. North Korea has framed its missile tests and military drills as justified countermeasures in response to the US-South Korea exercises and has called on the United Nations to urge a halt to them.