North Korea fires 2 suspected missiles in 4th launch this year

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff says the North likely fired two ballistic missiles from an area in Sunan, the location of Pyongyang's international airport, but doesn’t immediately say how far they flew

North Korea fires 2 suspected missiles in 4th launch this year

Photo for representation purposes. Reuters

Seoul, January 17

North Korea on Monday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea 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 ballistic missiles from an area in Sunan, the location of Pyongyang's international airport, but didn't immediately say how far they flew.

Japan's Prime Minister's Office also said it detected a possible ballistic missile launch from North Korea, but didn't immediately provide more details.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed his government to do its utmost to gather information about the launch and ensure the safety of vessels and aircraft. Japan's Coast Guard issued a warning for vessels travelling around Japanese waters to watch out for falling objects, but no immediate damage was reported. The Coast Guard later said that the North Korean projectile is believed to have already landed but didn't specify where.

The launch came after the North conducted a pair of flight tests of a purported hypersonic missile on January 5 and 11 and also test-fired ballistic missiles from a train on 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 missiles designed to overwhelm missile defenses in the region.

Some experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is going back to a tried-and-true technique of pressuring the US and regional neighbours with missile launches and outrageous threats before offering negotiations meant to extract concessions. AP

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