Apparently unafraid of a turn to the right in South Korea, North Korea stands accused again of test-firing ballistic missiles on Saturday, March 5th. This falls just days before the March 9th elections in South Korea in which the incumbent is being challenged by the right-leaning People Power party which aims to change to a more aggressive approach to the North.
The Japanese Defense Minister confirmed the launch, and added that the suspected missile landed outside of the North’s EEZ, and reached an altitude of 500km.
The race has been marked by allegations of corruption, with three potential “whistleblowers” found dead in the leadup to the race. The incumbent Democratic party’s candidate Lee Jae-Myung previously served as mayor of Seongnam, part of metropolitan Seoul
There are suspicions that Lee was involved in some form of corruption related to the parcelling off of real-estate during his tenure as mayor, and may have been associated with or aided by organized crime.
The company involved in the scandal, Seongnam Development Corporation, faced the suicide of two of its executives in December, just before each of them was to be interrogated related to the bribery investigation.
A third died in a heart attack in January after making separate allegations related to a different case related to Lee trying to forcibly institutionalize his brother in a mental hospital.
While none of the deaths was directly linked to Lee, American press has been making suggestions that pressure from associated organized crime organizations in Seongnam may have had some effect on those suicides.