Baku, January 27, AZERTAC
North Korea launched two apparent short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its eastern coast on Thursday, the South’s military said, in the nuclear-armed country’s sixth round of weapons tests in January — the most in a month since autumn 2019.
According to the Japan Times, the South Korean military said the missiles had been launched from the North’s eastern Hamhung area and flew about 190 kilometers at a maximum altitude of 20 km.
The latest show of force comes after a spate of North Korea launches, including two apparent cruise missiles on Tuesday.
The last time North Korea was believed to have tested this many weapons in a month was in the July to August period of 2019, according to a database operated by The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the reported launches, calling them “extremely regrettable” and added that Japan was continuing to gather information on the tests.
Speaking to reporters later in the day, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi called the North’s repeated missile tests “a grave issue” for not only Japan and the region but the world, adding that the weapons had appeared landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coast.
The North on Jan. 17 tested two “tactical guided missiles,” days after it conducted a “short-notice” drill to test the country’s new railway-borne missile regiment. The train-launched tests of apparent KN-23 weapons came on the heels of two launches earlier this month of “hypersonic” missiles. Analysts described those weapons as maneuverable re-entry vehicles that could give the country more options for escaping missile defenses.
Tests of ballistic missiles by Pyongyang are banned under United Nations sanctions resolutions.
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