North Korea launches two more, continuing its high-speed missile tests, its third and fourth this month

South Korean officials say North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday in its third weapons test this month. Recent sanctions imposed by the Biden administration For its continuous test launches.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles came from within the western province of North Pyongyang.

Japan’s prime minister’s office and the Defense Ministry also tracked the launch, while its Coast Guard urged ships to pay attention to falling objects.

The President’s Blue House said Friday that the South’s National Security Council convened an emergency meeting and expressed “deep regret” over the North’s launches on Friday, according to Reuters.

The US Indo-Pacific Command issued a statement similar to the one issued earlier this month following Pyongyang’s tests, saying “we are aware of the ballistic missile test and are in close consultation with our allies and partners. While we have assessed that this incident is not an immediate threat to US personnel or the region or our allies, the missile launch highlights the destabilizing effects of the DPRK’s illegal weapons program. The US commitment to defense is still ironclad. “

South Korea North Korea USA
People watch a TV screen at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, on January 14, 2022, showing a news program reporting on a North Korean missile launch with a file image. ۔

Li Jinman / AP

Hours earlier, North Korea issued a statement criticizing the Biden administration for imposing new sanctions on its missile tests and warning that if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance” it will be tougher and clearer. Action will be taken.

The sanctions target five North Koreans who contributed to the acquisition of equipment and technology for North Korea’s missile programs. North missile test earlier this week. Washington has also said it will demand new UN sanctions.

The last test of an alleged hypersonic missile on Tuesday – the second in a week – was overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said it would greatly increase his country’s nuclear “war prevention”.

North Korea is expanding tests of new, potentially nuclear-capable missiles designed to undermine missile defense systems in the region. Some experts say they are going back to a tried and true technique of putting pressure on the world through missile launches and provocative threats before offering to negotiate for less concessions.

After an unusually provocative race in 2017 for nuclear and long-range missile tests that demonstrated the acquisition of weapons from the North that could target the American homeland, Kim became the former president in 2018. Started diplomacy with Donald Trump to use his nuclear weapons for economic gain. .

But negotiations derailed after Kim’s second summit with Trump in 2019, when the United States rejected his demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for partial surrender of the North’s nuclear capabilities.

Kim has since promised to further develop a nuclear weapon, which he clearly sees as the strongest guarantee of his survival, despite the fact that the country’s economy suffered a major setback when it Closed its borders COVID-19 epidemic At the same time, US-led sanctions continue.

His administration has so far rejected the Biden administration’s public offer to resume talks, saying Washington must first abandon its “hostile policy” – a term Pyongyang primarily about sanctions and US-South. Uses to describe joint Korean military exercises.

Is Pyongyang seeking attention again?

Leif Eric Isley, a professor at Eva University in Seoul, said North Korea appeared to be signaling that it would not be ignored and would respond to pressure.

“North Korea is trying to set a trap for the Biden administration,” Asley said. “It has lined up missiles that it wants to test anyway and is responding to US pressure with additional provocation in an attempt to gain concessions.”

An unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman defended the launches on Friday as part of a “self-defense exercise” in a statement from North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The spokesman said the new sanctions indicate anti-US intentions aimed at “isolating and suppressing the North”. The spokesman accused Washington of maintaining a “gangster-like” stance, saying the development of new missiles from the north was part of an effort to modernize its military and did not target any specific country or its people. The security of the neighbors is at stake.

Hypersonic weapons, which fly at speeds of more than 5 mph or five times the speed of sound, can be a major challenge for missile defense due to their speed and tactics.

Such weapons were on Kim’s list of sophisticated military assets that Kim launched earlier this year, including multi-warhead missiles, spy satellites, solid-fuel long-range missiles and submarine-launched nuclear missiles. Were brought to light.

Still, experts say North Korea will need years and more successful and long-distance testing before it can get a reliable hypersonic system.

In an interview with MSNBC, Secretary of State Anthony Blanken called the North’s latest experiments “deeply destabilizing” and said the United States would retaliate at the United Nations and with key partners, including South Korea and Japan. I am busy

“I think some of it is North Korea that is trying to get attention. It has happened in the past. Maybe it will continue to do so,” Blankenship said. “But we are working with allies and partners to ensure that they and we are properly defended and that the effects and consequences of these actions by North Korea are felt.”