Wed | May 18, 2022

Fresh missiles fired in response to US sanctions

Published:Sunday | January 16, 2022 | 12:08 AM
People watch a TV screen showing a news programme reporting about North Korea’s missile launch with a file image, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, January 14.
People watch a TV screen showing a news programme reporting about North Korea’s missile launch with a file image, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, on Friday, January 14.

North Korea on Friday fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles in its third weapons launch this month, officials in South Korea said, in an apparent reprisal for fresh sanctions imposed by the Biden administration for its continuing test launches.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missiles were fired 11 minutes apart from an inland area in western North Pyongan province, where North Korea is known to operate key missile bases and has frequently conducted test launches in recent years.

The missiles flew 267 miles cross-country on a maximum altitude of 22 miles before landing in the sea, the military said.

Japan’s coast guard urged vessels to pay attention to falling objects, but Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said there were no reports of damage to vessels or aircraft.

Hours earlier, North Korea issued a statement berating the Biden administration for imposing fresh sanctions over its previous missile tests and warned of stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance”.

The sanctions targeted five North Koreans over their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for the North’s missile programmes in its response to the North’s missile test last week. Washington also said it would seek new UN sanctions.

The test-launch of a 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 deterrent”.

North Korea has been ramping up tests of new, potentially nuclear-capable missiles designed to overwhelm missile defences in the region. Some experts say Kim is going back to a tried-and-true technique of pressuring the world with missile launches and outrageous threats before offering negotiations meant to extract concessions.

AP