North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday in its third weapons launch this month, in defiance of new US sanctions.
South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said the missiles came from an interior in the western province of North Pyongan.
The Japanese Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Ministry also detected the launch, while the Coast Guard urged ships to keep an eye out for falling objects.
Hours earlier, North Korea had issued a statement berating the “gangster-like” government of Biden for imposing new sanctions on its missile tests and warning of stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance.”
North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday in its third weapons launch this month, in defiance of new US sanctions. Pictured: An earlier test launch of a hypersonic missile that took place on January 11, 2022 in North Korea
Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches what the North Korean government says was a test launch of a hypersonic missile on January 11, 2022 in North Korea
The sanctions targeted five North Koreans for their role in acquiring equipment and technology for the North’s missile programs in response to the North’s missile test this week. Washington also said it would seek new UN sanctions.
The previous test launch of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday – the second a week – was overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said it would significantly boost his country’s nuclear “war deterrent”.
North Korea is testing new, potentially nuclear missiles designed to overwhelm the region’s missile defenses. Some experts say Kim will go back to a tried-and-true technique of pressuring the world with missile launches and outrageous threats before offering negotiations aimed at extracting concessions.
After an unusually provocative run in nuclear and long-range missile tests in 2017, which showed that the North is pursuing an arsenal that could attack the American homeland, Kim initiated diplomacy with former President Donald Trump in 2018 in an effort to use his nuclear weapons for economic benefits.
But negotiations derailed after Kim’s second summit with Trump in 2019, when the Americans rejected his demands for a major lifting of sanctions in exchange for a partial surrender of the North’s nuclear capabilities.
Kim has since pledged to further expand a nuclear arsenal that he clearly sees as his strongest guarantee of survival, despite the country’s economy suffering major setbacks after it closed its borders during the pandemic, as well as ongoing US challenges. guided sanctions.
His administration has so far rejected the Biden administration’s open-ended offer to resume talks, saying Washington must first give up its “hostile policies” — a term Pyongyang primarily uses to describe sanctions and joint military exercises between the US and South Korea.
Image showing how hypersonic missiles can avoid radar detection for longer than intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by flying closer to Earth
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said North Korea appears to be signaling that it will not be ignored and will respond to pressure with pressure.
“North Korea is trying to set a trap for the Biden administration,” Easley said. “It has deployed missiles it still wants to test and is responding to US pressure with additional provocations in an effort to force concessions.”
In a statement from the official Korean Central News Agency of North Korea, an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman on Friday defended the launches as a just exercise of self-defense.
The spokesman said the new sanctions underscore the hostile US intent of “isolating and suffocating” the north. The spokesman accused Washington of taking a “gangster-like” stance and said the North’s development of the new missile is part of its efforts to modernize its military and not target a specific country or pose a threat to the safety of its neighbors.
Hypersonic weapons, flying at speeds in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, can pose a critical challenge to missile defenses due to their speed and maneuverability.
Such weapons were on a wish list of advanced military assets Kim unveiled early last year, along with multi-warhead missiles, spy satellites, long-range solid-fuel missiles and submarine-launched nuclear missiles.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, looks at the monitors next to military leaders as a test launch of a missile is carried out on January 11, 2022 in North Korea
Still, experts say North Korea will need years and more successful and longer tests before it gets a credible hypersonic system.
In an interview with MSNBC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the north’s latest testing “deeply destabilizing” and said the United States was closely involved with the UN and with key partners, including allies South Korea and Japan, about a response.
“I think part of it is that North Korea is trying to get attention. That has been done in the past. It will probably continue to do that,’ Blinken said. “But we are very focused with allies and partners to ensure that they and we are properly defended and that there are repercussions, consequences for these actions by North Korea.”