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Why Kim Jong Un rapid-fires missiles as world fights coronavirus

North Korean leader seeks to protect regime by showing military achievements

Kim Jong Un is trying to maintain discipline in North Korea's 1.2 million-man military by treating it to displays of advanced missile technology. (KCNA/REUTERS)

TOKYO -- North Korea test-fired ballistic missiles four times in March as the world struggled to deal with the new coronavirus. Each event involved two or more launches, with all of the missiles landing in the Sea of Japan. Analysts are trying to figure out what is behind North Korea's increased missile activity while the country is on high alert for COVID-19.

Around 7,000 people suspected of having the virus have been quarantined in Pyeongannam, Pyeonganbuk and Gangwo provinces, according to North Korean state-run media and other news organizations. Reports have also said there were people under "medical monitoring" in Hwanghaenam, Jagang and Hamgyeongnam provinces, and in Kaesang City.

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