(Seoul) North Korea fired two new ballistic missiles on Friday, according to the South Korean military, marking the third weapons test by Pyongyang since early 2022 despite new US sanctions.
Posted at 6:29 am
The launches follow Washington’s decision to impose new financial sanctions on five North Korean nationals, following previous tests of hypersonic missiles.
After the announcement, Pyongyang promised Friday not to give up its “right to self-defense.”
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said short-range ballistic missile projectiles were fired Friday toward the eastern Korean peninsula.
The launch took place at 2:41 p.m. and 2:52 p.m., and the missiles traveled 432 kilometers at an altitude of 36 kilometers, they said.
The South Korean Security Council “deeply regretted” this test, which it regretted, “does not contribute to stability on the Korean peninsula at this critical moment.”
In Tokyo, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the projectiles landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. He said these repeated tests prove that Pyongyang is “looking to improve its launch techniques.”
Despite international sanctions on banned weapons programs, Pyongyang has already launched two missiles, presented as hypersonic, since the beginning of the year. The first on January 5 and the second, it was personally supervised by leader Kim Jong-un on January 11.
In the wake of the sanctions announced by Washington on Wednesday, which “target North Korea’s continued use of foreign representatives to illegally purchase goods to manufacture weapons,” Pyongyang “intentionally” accused the United States of exacerbating the situation.
“If the United States adopts such a confrontational stance, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will have to respond stronger and more confidently,” the official Korean Central News Agency quoted a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.
He added that North Korea has the “legitimate right” to develop new weapons as part of its desire to “modernize its national defense capability.”
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, says the timing of the alleged new trial is worrisome.
“North Korea conducted this test immediately after issuing a statement saying that it would not give up its ‘right to self-defense’,” Yang told AFP.
With this article, they are showing that they really mean what they say in the statement. The message is very clear. North Korea will not give up its weapons despite the new sanctions imposed on it.
Yang Moo-jin, professor at the University of North Korean Studies
Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute, said the new trial was “hastily conducted to show the United States that it will be watching after the sanctions.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Thursday called on North Korea to negotiate with the United States, which he said has no “hostile intentions” toward Kim Jong Un’s regime.
Blinken said in a television interview that the continuation of the tests “is extremely destabilizing and dangerous and contravenes a whole series of UN Security Council resolutions.”
Dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington remains at a dead end after talks between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump failed in 2019.
The government of incumbent President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed its willingness to meet with envoys from North Korea, but Pyongyang has rejected the offer, accusing the United States of pursuing a “hostile” policy.
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