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North Korea tests ‘tactical guided missiles’ in fourth launch of year that overturns sanctions

North Korea tests ‘tactical guided missiles’ in fourth launch of year that overturns sanctions

  • Kim Jong Un launched two tactical guided missiles into Korea’s Baltic Sea
  • State news agency said they have reached an island target in the successful test launch
  • US hit Pyongyang with new sanctions last week, but tests continue



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North Korea has launched two tactical guided missiles in its fourth test of the year to break sanctions.

The missiles “hit exactly an island target in Korea’s Baltic Sea” in Monday’s test, state news agency KCNA said.

The launches “confirmed the accuracy, safety and efficiency of the weapons system’s operation in production,” it added.

North Korea has launched two tactical guided missiles in its fourth test of the year to break sanctions (pictured, latest launch on Monday)

North Korea has launched two tactical guided missiles in its fourth test of the year to break sanctions (pictured, latest launch on Monday)

Since leader Kim Jong Un announced his commitment to military modernization in a key party speech last month, the nuclear-armed country has conducted a series of weapons tests, including hypersonic missiles.

Washington hit Pyongyang with new sanctions last week and North Korea responded by doubling the number of tests and asserting its “legitimate right” to self-defense.

South Korea’s military previously said two suspected “short-range ballistic missiles” were fired Monday from near Pyongyang, about 240 miles at an altitude of 26 miles.

Japan also discovered the test, with Defense Secretary Nobuo Kishi warning that the string of recent launches indicates that North Korea is “trying to improve its technology and operational capability.”

The launches come at a delicate time in the region, with China, North Korea’s only major ally, set to host the Winter Olympics next month and South Korea gearing up for presidential elections in March.

Pyongyang is using the new US sanctions as an excuse to continue with pre-planned conventional weapons tests, one analyst said, as the north tries to narrow the gap with South Korea’s well-equipped military.

Kim Jong-un expressed his commitment to military modernization in an important party speech last month

Kim Jong-un expressed his commitment to military modernization in an important party speech last month

Kim Jong-un expressed his commitment to military modernization in an important party speech last month

“It’s way behind its rivalry with Seoul on that score,” said Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute’s Center for North Korea Studies.

“Although it is nuclear-armed, it is not in a position to use them unless attacked first and can only use conventional weapons for possible military conflicts along the border areas.”

For now, talks with the United States are “off the table” as Pyongyang will not respond until Seoul and Washington stop joint exercises — something Washington has said is non-negotiable, he added.

The United States on Monday called on North Korea to “cease its illegal and destabilizing activities.”

US Special Representative to North Korea Sung Kim “expressed concern” over the missile launches and urged Pyongyang to enter into dialogue “without preconditions,” the State Department said.

Even as it flexes its military muscles, the impoverished country, economically reeling from a self-imposed coronavirus lockdown, quietly resumed cross-border trade with China this weekend.

On Sunday, a freight train from North Korea arrived in the Chinese border city of Dandong for the first time since early 2020.

Freight trains carrying goods between Dandong and North Korea have been put back into service. This work will be carried out in accordance with pandemic prevention measures,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a routine briefing on Monday.

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