North Korea fired what are presumed to be two short-range ballistic missiles into waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Thursday – a move believed to be its sixth missile test this month, the South Korean military said.
The two projectiles were launched from Hamhung near North Korea’s central east coast at 8 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. local time, landing in the sea after flying about 190 kilometers (118 miles) and reaching an altitude of about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), the South Korean military said.
Pyongyang has ramped up its missile testing in 2022, saying it will bolster its defenses against the United States and evaluate “restarting all temporally suspended activities,” according to North Korea’s state-run news agency KCNA.
Just two days ago, North Korea fired what were believed to be cruise missiles into the sea.
On January 17, Pyongyang test-fired “tactical guided missiles,” which are short-range ballistic missiles, KCNA said.
North Korea claimed to have a successfully test-fired hypersonic missiles on January 5 and 11, and then what were presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles from a rail car on January 14.
Pyongyang is barred by international law from developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
After the rail car test, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson admonished Washington for its posture against Pyongyang’s weapons development. “If the US adopts such a confrontational stance, the DPRK will be forced to take stronger and certain reaction to it,” the spokesman said, referring to the country by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
In a recent statement carried by KCNA, a spokesperson defended North Korea’s right to bolster its arms, saying its “recent development of new-type weapon was just part of its efforts for modernizing its national defense capability.”
Leif-Eric Easley, associate professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, said the recent tests show the Kim Jong Un regime is “developing an impressive diversity of offensive weapons.”
“Certain North Korean tests aim to develop new capabilities, especially for evading missile defenses. Other launches are intended to demonstrate the readiness and versatility of missile forces that North Korea has already deployed,” Easley said.