Officials in South Korea reported North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday, the third such launch this month, in apparent retaliation for new sanctions placed by the Biden administration for the country’s continued missile tests.
The missiles were fired from an interior location in western North Pyongan province, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The launch was also detected by Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Ministry, and the country’s coast guard advised ships to be aware of falling items.
North Korea had published a statement chastising the Biden administration for implementing further restrictions in response to its missile tests, threatening tougher and more specific measures if Washington maintained its aggressive posture.
In reaction to the North’s missile launch this week, the sanctions targeted five North Koreans for their roles in procuring equipment and technology for the North’s missile programs. Washington also stated that it would pursue new U.N. membership. sanctions.
Leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the prior test-launch of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday, the second in a week, and stated it would considerably boost his country’s nuclear deterrent.
North Korea has been conducting more tests of new, possibly nuclear-capable missiles aimed at overwhelming regional missile defenses. Some observers believe Kim is reverting to a tried-and-true tactic of threatening the world with missile launches and absurd threats before providing concession-seeking negotiations.
Experts estimate that North Korea will need years of testing and more successful and longer-range tests before gaining a credible hypersonic system.