North Korea's Missile Launches Keep Coming

North Korea confirms 4th missile launch this month
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 17, 2022 12:01 AM CST
Updated Jan 18, 2022 12:00 AM CST
North Korea's Missile Launches Keep Coming
A man watches a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea's missile launch with a file image, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

(Newser) Update: North Korea said Tuesday it had conducted a test-firing of “tactical guided missiles,” a day after South Korea’s military detected the North launching two ballistic missiles into the sea. Monday’s test was North Korea’s fourth round of missile launches this month and the second since its Foreign Ministry warned of stronger and more explicit action after the Biden administration last week imposed fresh sanctions over the North's continued weapons displays. North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said the test was aimed to evaluate the missiles that were already being manufactured and deployed, the AP reports. KCNA said missiles “precisely” struck a sea target to confirm the system’s “accuracy, security and efficiency.” The report didn’t specify what the missiles were. Our original story from Monday follows:

North Korea fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea Monday in its fourth weapons launch this month, South Korea’s military said, with the apparent goal of demonstrating its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North likely fired two short-range ballistic missiles from an area in Sunan, the location of Pyongyang’s international airport, the AP reports. The missiles were launched four minutes apart Monday morning and flew around 236 miles on a maximum altitude of 26 miles before landing in waters off the country’s northeastern coast, it said.

The US Indo-Pacific Command said the missiles did not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory, or to its allies, but highlighted the destabilizing impact of the North’s “illicit” weapons program. Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, and the chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, condemned North Korea’s actions as threats to peace. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is visiting the United Arab Emirates, instructed officials to make “utmost efforts to ensure stability” on the Korean Peninsula, his office said. It also said members of the presidential National Security Council stressed the need to revive nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang.

North Korea had conducted a pair of flight tests of a purported hypersonic missile on Jan. 5 and Jan. 11 and also test-fired ballistic missiles from a train Friday in an apparent reprisal over fresh sanctions imposed by the Biden administration last week for its continuing test launches. North Korea has been ramping up tests in recent months of new, potentially nuclear-capable missiles designed to be maneuverable and fly at low altitudes, which potentially improve their chances of evading and defeating missile defenses in the region. Some experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is going back to a tried-and-true tactic of pressuring his neighbors and the US with missile launches and outrageous threats before offering negotiations meant to extract concessions.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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