Despite a new barrage of US sanctions, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles on Friday, according to the South and Japan. This would be the country’s third weapons test this month.
The new launches came only hours after Pyongyang threatened a “stronger and more certain” response to penalties imposed on five North Koreans tied to the country’s missile programme. Seoul’s joint chiefs of command stated two short-range ballistic missiles were fired from North Pyongan province and that they were “analysing the specifications.”
Nobuo Kishi, Tokyo’s defence minister, told reporters that the missiles “dropped outside” Japan’s territorial waters, and that Pyongyang was “aiming to perfect its launch technology” through the repeated testing.
The missiles were launched just hours after Pyongyang accused the US of “provocation” over new restrictions imposed this week in response to a series of missile tests.
According to Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff, the launches took place at 2.41 p.m. and 2.52 p.m., with the weapons flying 430 kilometres at an altitude of 36 kilometres.
The recent missile launches were met with “deep sorrow” by Seoul’s National Security Council, which said they “do not help to stability on the Korean Peninsula at this critical moment.”
Pyongyang first demonstrated a hypersonic missile in September of last year, and it conducted two successful tests this month as it prepares to add the weapon to its arsenal.
The United States responded by imposing fresh sanctions on Pyongyang this week. North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch was criticised by the United States on Friday.
“We are committed to a diplomatic approach with the DPRK and urge them to engage in conversation,” the statement said. In an emailed statement, a State Department official said, “Our commitment to the defence of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains unwavering.”