North Korea announced on Tuesday (Jan 18) that it had tested two tactical guided missiles the day before to ensure their accuracy.
North Korea’s fourth weapons test this month – South Korea labeled them short-range ballistic missiles – came on Monday, as Pyongyang flexed its military strength while disregarding US overtures of dialogue.
Pyongyang has launched a series of weapons tests this year, including hypersonic missiles, despite harsh international sanctions, as leader Kim Jong Un pursues his stated objective of boosting the military.
North Korea, which is suffering economically as a result of a self-imposed coronavirus blockade, has ignored Washington’s offers of talks, instead doubling down on nuclear tests and promising a “stronger and certain” response to any attempts to reign it in.
The launches occur at a critical juncture in the area, with China, North Korea’s lone major ally, hosting the Winter Olympics next month and South Korea preparing for a presidential election in March.
“The two tactical guided missiles launched in the western part of the DPRK precisely targeted an island target in the East Sea of Korea,” the state news agency KCNA stated on Tuesday. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is abbreviated as DPRK.
According to KCNA, “the Academy of Defence Science confirmed the accuracy, security, and efficiency of the weapon system under production.”
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the South Korean military, as well as Japan, were the first to report on this new test.
In response, the US demanded that North Korea “stop its unlawful and destabilizing conduct” on Monday.
Sung Kim, the US special representative on North Korea, “expressed worry” about the missile launches in a call with South Korean and Japanese officials, according to the State Department. He also urged Pyongyang to return to dialogue “without preconditions.”