Tracking North Korea’s Record Number of Missile Launches

SEOUL — North Korea started the new year by launching a short-range ballistic missile on Sunday, as its ruling Workers’ Party wrapped up a meeting to discuss policy goals for 2023.

The missile was fired from Pyongyang, the capital, at 2:50 a.m. on New Year’s Day and flew 248 miles before falling in waters off the country’s east coast, the South Korean military said.

It was the North’s second missile test in two days. On Saturday, it launched three short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast.

The country launched at least 95 ballistic and other missiles in 2022 — more than any previous year — in an ongoing effort to use nuclear and missile brinkmanship in the face of punishing international sanctions. Each test has been in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban the country from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear devices.

Below is a summary of the launches North Korea has carried out since January 2022, according to data from North Koreas state news media and the South Korean military.


A short-range ballistic missile launched on Jan. 1

By launching a missile on New Year’s Day, North Korea indicated that it would persist in weapons development in 2023.

December 2022

Three short-range ballistic missiles launched on Dec. 31 | Two short-range ballistic missiles fired on Dec. 23 | Two medium-range ones on Dec. 18

On Dec. 16, North Korea tested what it called a new, high-thrust rocket engine that used solid fuel as it looks to grow its capabilities. Two days later, it launched what the South Korean military called two medium-range ballistic missiles from the same site where the new rocket engine was tested. North Korea claimed that it was testing technologies to place a military spy satellite into the Earth’s orbit.

South Korean officials are analyzing data to determine if the tests had anything to do with the North’s efforts to build a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile. Such a missile would be easier to transport and hide, and faster to launch — and thus harder to intercept — than the North’s existing ICBMs, all of which depend on liquid fuel.

Kim Yo-jong, the sister and spokeswoman for the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, warned on Dec. 20 that the country may launch a missile on a full ICBM range for the first time in the country’s history. Experts have questioned whether North Korea possesses the technology to do so on full trajectory — entering space and blasting back through the Earth’s atmosphere to hit its intended target. Ms. Kim threatened to put those doubts to rest.


A Hwasong-17 ICBM fired on Nov. 18 | Six ballistic missiles, including an ICBM, on Nov. 3 | At least 29 short-range ballistic and other missiles on four different days

November was the busiest month in North Korean missile tests in 2022, with at least 46 ballistic and other missiles launched, half of them on Nov. 2 alone. One of the missiles fired that day flew over the inter-Korean maritime border and fell into waters off the east coast of South Korea, triggering an aerial-attack warning alarm on a populated island. In response, the South fired three air-to-surface missiles across the border into waters near North Korea.

The North capped its brisk weapons activities in November by test-firing the Hwasong-17, its newest and most powerful ICBM, on Nov. 18. The missile was launched at a deliberately steep angle, high into space. The flight data indicated that if launched at a normal angle, the missile theoretically could reach anywhere in the continental United States.

October 2022

An intermediate-range ballistic missile launched on Oct. 4 | Two “long-range strategic cruise missiles” on Oct. 12 | Nine short-range ballistic missiles on five different days

In the fall, South Korea, the United States and Japan stepped up joint military exercises to strengthen their deterrence against North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear threat. At the same time, North Korea’s missile tests became increasingly provocative. On Oct. 4, North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over northern Japan, triggering alarms and prompting residents to seek cover. On Oct. 12, it launched what it called two “long-range strategic cruise missiles” that it said were deployed at units operating “tactical nukes.” It also claimed that it rehearsed the launching of “nuclear warheads” at “the enemies’ main military command facilities” during tests conducted on Oct. 6.

September 2022

Five short-range ballistic missiles launched on three different days

As the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan sailed to waters off the Korean Peninsula for joint military drills with South Korea and Japan in September and October, North Korea began testing short-range ballistic missiles. It said that one test simulated the launch of a nuclear missile from an underwater silo; another rehearsed the launch of “nuclear warheads” at airports in South Korea.

August 2022

Two cruise missiles fired on Aug. 17

North Korea fired two cruise missiles off its west coast, two days after President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea made what he called an “audacious” proposal to the North. Mr. Yoon said South Korea would start providing economic incentives immediately if the North began serious negotiations to denuclearize. North Korea called him “simple” and “childish.”

June 2022

Eight short-range missiles fired on June 5

Eight short-range ballistic missiles were fired from four different locations in North Korea. The missiles flew between 68 and 416 miles to the east. Over the next two days, South Korea and the United States conducted live-fire missile and joint air force drills to counter the North’s escalation.

May 2022

A submarine-launched ballistic missile fired on May 7 | Seven other ballistic missiles on three different days

North Korea launched three ballistic missiles on May 25 while President Biden was flying home after a visit to South Korea and Japan. The first missile was believed to be an ICBM fired on a reduced range, covering a distance of only 224 miles. In response, the United States and South Korea each fired a ballistic missile in a counter military drill.

April 2022

Two short-range ballistic missiles fired on April 16

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast in April. It later indicated that the “new-type tactical guided weapon” was developed as a means of delivering “tactical nukes.”

March 2022

An ICBM launched on March 24 | A failed ICBM test on March 16 | A ballistic missile on March 5

North Korea said on March 5 that it launched a rocket as part of its efforts to send a reconnaissance satellite into space. But South Korean and American officials said that the North was testing a Hwasong-17 ICBM. Not all of the Hwasong-17 tests were successful, with one rocket exploding shortly after takeoff. On March 24, a missile soared 3,850 miles into space in one of the North’s most powerful ICBM launches.

February 2022

A ballistic missile fired on Feb. 27

A projectile soared from the Sunan district of Pyongyang and flew 186 miles to the east in February. North Korea said the launch was part of its preparations to place a reconnaissance satellite in the Earth’s orbit. But South Korean and American officials said the North was testing a Hwasong-17, its latest-generation ICBM.

January 2022

An intermediate-range ballistic missile fired on Jan. 30 | Eight cruise or short-range ballistic missiles on four different days | Two “hypersonic” missiles on two days

North Korea began the year with a series of short-range ballistic missile tests, including “hypersonic” missiles and some launched from train cars. On Jan. 27, it launched its Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile. The missile was first tested in 2017. This time, the North said it randomly selected one for testing from multiple Hwasong-12s “being produced and deployed” by the North Korean military.

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