North Korean state media reported that they fired two rail missiles, following two other ballistic missiles that were also fired this year.
Image: KCNA VIA KNS / AFP via Getty Image)
North Korea has tested two rail missiles in its firing drills, state media KCNA reported, further escalating tensions as the U.S. seeks new sanctions against the secret country over a recent series of weapons tests.
The South Korean Joint Staff said two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) had traveled about 267 miles to a maximum altitude of 22 miles after being fired east on North Korea’s northwest coast on Friday.
The official KCNA news agency did not specify the range or route of the missiles, but said a shooting exercise was conducted in North Pyongyang province to “verify and assess the professionalism in the procedures of the railway regiment”.
The state tested the railway system for the first time last September, saying it was designed as a potential counterattack to all threatening forces.
Since the new year, North Korea has also fired two other ballistic missiles in an unusually fast sequence of weapons tests. The previous two launches included what the state media called “hypersonic missiles” capable of high speeds and maneuverability in the air.
KCNA VIA KNS / AFP via Getty Image)
Hours before the latest test exercise, North Korea condemned the U.S. for imposing new sanctions in response to recent rocket launches, calling them a “provocation” and warning of a strong response.
The administration of US President Joe Biden on Wednesday imposed the first sanctions against Pyongyang and called on the UN Security Council to blacklist more North Korean individuals and entities.
North Korea has defended missile tests as its sovereign right to self-defense and accused the U.S. of deliberately escalating the situation with new sanctions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did not attend the exercise.
Korea Summit Press Pool / AFP via)
The KCNA said the military leadership ordered the test “in a short time” and the system accurately hit a target set on the East Coast with “two tactically guided missiles”.
The system “showed high maneuverability and speed of hits,” KCNA said, adding that its success had led to discussions about “establishing an appropriate rail-based missile operating system across the country.”
North Korea is steadily developing its weapons systems and raising stakes for stalled talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons in exchange for easing U.S. sanctions.
South Korean Chung Eui-yong and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during their phone call on Saturday condemned the latest launch and coordinated responses to recent northern missile tests, the State Department said.
Both sides stressed the importance of maintaining a strong united readiness and called on Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table, the Seoul Foreign Ministry said.