North Korea launches two tactical guided missiles in recent days

33
5
North Korea launches two tactical guided missiles in recent days

State-run media said on Saturday that North Korea's launch of two tactical guided missiles was part of a short-notice drill of the new railway-borne missile regiment.

The North's third and fourth launches over the last 10 days came from North Pyongan province, which borders China, and flew around 430 km 270 miles at an altitude of 36 km, according to the South Korean military.

They came hours after Pyongyang pledged a stronger and certain response to U.S. sanctions slapped on five North Koreans and others over the country's nuclear and missile programs.

The drill was intended to check the alert posture of the combatants of the regiment and bolster their ability, the official Korean Central News Agency KCNA said in a dispatch.

The regiment received a firepower mission at short notice from the General Staff in the morning on Friday, before quickly moving to the firing ground and precisely struck the set target in the East Sea of Korea with two tactical guided missiles, it added.

The rail launches, as well as the two tests earlier this month of hypersonic missiles, which analysts said were likely more maneuverable weapons, could give the isolated country more options for evading missile defenses.

The KCNA report said that the country s military would aim to set up a railway-borne missile operating system across the country after the test. The North conducted its first train-launched missile test last September, which experts said is a potential counterstrike option to deter threats.

Japan condemned the North's weapons tests, which are banned under the UN Security Council resolutions.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the recent launches of ballistic missiles and other missiles by North Korea are a serious problem for the entire international community, including Japan. We strongly condemn this as a violation of the UN Security Council resolutions. The U.S. Treasury Department slapped sanctions on five North Koreans living overseas — one in Russia and four in China — for aiding the country's weapons programs.

In a statement on Friday, the North Korean Foreign Ministry stated that the pursuit of its new weapons systems is a legitimate right, and that the pursuit of its new weapons systems is a legitimate right. The ministry said that the U.S. is intentionally escalating the situation even with the activation of independent sanctions, not content with referring the DPRK's just activity to the UN Security Council, using the acronym for the country's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

If the U.S. takes a confrontational stance, the DPRK will have to take a stronger and certain reaction to it, it said.

In the past few months, North Korea has tested a number of new weapons systems. These included the train-launched weapons and hypersonic missiles, as well as a long-range cruise missile believed to be capable of delivering a nuclear bomb to Japan and a new submarine-launched ballistic missile. All are believed to represent progress in Pyongyang's quest to defeat missile defenses.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Kishi have said that the country could acquire a strike capability as a means of deterring attacks, a move that would be a major shift in the country's defense posture, as a result of the renewed pace of the country s weapons testing and development of missiles that can evade defenses.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the latest launch on Friday, Kishi refrained from discussing Japan's capabilities for intercepting North Korea's latest missiles, but did note the worrying trend that Pyongyang s growing weapons prowess represents.

In general terms, I think it is true that North Korea is developing missile technology that will make intercepting difficult, and I believe that Japan needs to take measures to deal with such a situation.

Kishi stated that Japan would look at a number of options, including a strike capability, to bolster its defenses and deterrent effect.

After U.S., denuclearization talks between the North and the United States have been at a standstill since 2019. S. President Donald Trump had three meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Following the conclusion of a lengthy review of the US North Korea policy earlier this year, Trump's successor, President Joe Biden, has repeatedly stated that his administration harbors no hostile intent toward Pyongyang and is prepared to meet unconditionally with a goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Kishida has also said he is open to an unconditional meeting with North Korea leader.

Kim has condemned the offers of dialogue as a petty trick. In an interview with MSNBC, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated the U.S. calls for dialogue, calling renewed missile tests "deeply destabilizing and dangerous." A rationale for the spate of launches was offered by Blinken - an apparent need to return the long-stalled issue to the headlines.

He said that the North Koreans are trying to get attention. It's done that in the past, and it ll probably continue to do that. We are very focused on allies and partners in making sure they are properly defended and that there are consequences for these actions by North Korea. Some observers urged caution in saying the missiles were merely tested to get Washington attention, noting that Kim outlined a five-year program to make more sophisticated short-range nuclear missiles, hypersonic missiles, large intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched long-range missiles, among other key targets in January of last year.

After watching the launch of the hypersonic missile test on Tuesday for the first time since March 2020, Kim urged military scientists to continue to build up the country s strategic military muscle in both quality and quantity, and modernize the army, after officially observing the hypersonic missile test on Tuesday for the first time since March 2020.