A mock firing of a rail-borne missile regiment in North Pyongan province.  (Photo: KCNA VIA KNS/AFP)

North Korea He indicated on Saturday that he had launched two tactical guided missiles from a railway platform the day before, in the third weapons test of the Asian country since the beginning of 2022, despite the new sanctions imposed by the United States.

The test, detected by the South Korean army and the Japanese coastguard, served to “check and evaluate the competence in the action procedures in the launch from railway platforms”, indicated the official North Korean agency KCNA.

The launches of these short-range missiles come after the United States this week imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang, which responded then that it will never give up its “right to defend itself.”

In September 2021, North Korea first tested these launches from a rail platform. Friday’s test “demonstrated high maneuverability and hit rate,” according to the agency.

“Deployment of a rail-based missile system across the country is being discussed,” KCNA added.

The launches took place at 2:41 p.m. and 2:52 p.m. (0541 and 0552 GMT), and the missiles traveled a distance of 432 km at a height of 36 km to the east of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean chiefs of staff said.

The South Korean Security Council “regretted” this test that “does not contribute to stability on the Korean peninsula at this critical time.”

In Tokyo, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the shells fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. These repeated tests show that Pyongyang “seeks to improve its launch technologies,” he said.

Despite international sanctions on its weapons and nuclear program, Pyongyang has carried out two tests of suspected hypersonic missiles in recent days, on January 5 and 11.

Following the second test, personally overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the United States imposed additional sanctions on five people linked to North Korea’s missile program.

A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Washington of engaging in an “intentional escalation” of the situation.

If “the United States takes a confrontational stance, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be forced to take a stronger and firmer reaction,” the spokesman said in comments reported by KCNA on Friday before the shooting.

Korea of North it has “the legitimate right” to develop new weapons as part of its process of “modernizing its national defense capabilities,” the spokesman added.

A mock firing of a rail-borne missile regiment in North Pyongan province. (Photo: KCNA VIA KNS/AFP)

A “troubling situation”

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, told AFP that the timing of these trials is “worrying”.

“The situation is worrying. Korea of North He fired this shot immediately after releasing a statement saying he did not give up his ‘right to defend himself,'” Yang said.

“The message is very clear. Korea of North It is not going to give up anything regarding its weapons, and this despite the new sanctions,” added the analyst.

The new test “was carried out quickly to show the United States that the policy of an eye for an eye tooth for a tooth will be applied after the sanctions” of Washington, said Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Center for Korea Studies. North at the Sejong Institute.

On Thursday, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, urged North Korea to negotiate with the United States, a country that, according to him, does not harbor any “hostile intention” towards the Kim Jong Un regime.

Negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program have been stalled since the failure of the historic 2018-2019 summits between then-US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.

Pyongyang has resumed ballistic missile testing in recent months, with several launches since September.

The government of current President Joe Biden has repeatedly expressed its willingness to meet with North Korean emissaries, but Pyongyang rejected the offer, accusing the United States of following a “hostile” policy.

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