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North Korea has 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.
South Korea´s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North likely fired two short-range ballistic missiles from an area in Sunan, the location of Pyongyang´s international airport, but didn´t immediately say how far they flew.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the missiles did not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to its allies, but highlighted the destabilizing impact of the North´s ‘illicit’ weapons program.
Tensions between North Korea and the US have risen since Joe Biden became president. And last Monday, all airports across the west coast of the United States were ordered by the FAA to halt all operations by the Federal Aviation Authority, moments after a prior launch from the rogue state
This picture released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency on Monday shows a firing drill of railway-borne missile regiment is held in North Pyongan Province
North Korea state television shows the test firing of railway-borne missile that took place on Friday
This picture taken on January 11, 2022 and released from North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, speaking with military officials during an observation of what state media says was aa hypersonic missile test-fire
People watch a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea’s missile launch with a file image, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is pictured. The country fired a projectile into sea in the fourth launch this month, South Korea said on Monday
Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles landed outside the Japan´s exclusive economic zone, and the chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, condemned North Korea’s actions as threats to peace.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is visiting the United Arab Emirates, instructed officials to make ‘utmost efforts to ensure stability’ on the Korean Peninsula, his office said.
It also said members of the presidential National Security Council stressed the need to revive nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang.
North Korea had conducted a pair of flight tests of a purported hypersonic missile on January 5 and January 11 and also test-fired ballistic missiles from a train 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.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un observes what state media report is a hypersonic missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea last week, on January 11
A picture of a test missile launch from January 5 is shown here
North Korea on Monday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea in its fourth weapons launch this month, South Korea’s military said
North Korea’s goal was to demonstrate its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures
Some experts say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is going back to a tried-and-true technique of pressuring its neighbors and the U.S. with missile launches and outrageous threats before offering negotiations meant to extract concessions.
A U.S.-led diplomatic push aimed at convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program collapsed in 2019 after the Trump administration rejected the North´s demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.
That came after a historic June 2018 summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore.
Kim has since pledged to further expand a nuclear arsenal he clearly sees as his strongest guarantee of survival.
His government has so far rejected the Biden administration´s call to resume dialogue without preconditions, saying that Washington must first abandon its ‘hostile policy,’ a term Pyongyang mainly uses to describe sanctions and combined U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
Kim Dong-yub, a professor at Seoul´s University of North Korean Studies, said the North may have conducted another launch to pressure Washington and could continue to dial up its testing activity after vowing stronger action over what it perceives as U.S. hostility.
A man watches a TV screen showing a news program reporting about North Korea’s missile launch at a train station in Seoul, South Korea
Last week, the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on five North Koreans over their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for the North´s missile programs in its response to the North´s earlier tests this month.
The State Department ordered sanctions against another North Korean, a Russian man and a Russian company for their broader support of North Korea´s weapons of mass destruction activities, and the Biden administration also said it would pursue additional U.N. sanctions over the North´s continued tests.
The announcement of the sanctions just came hours after North Korean state media said Kim Jong Un oversaw a successful test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday, which was the country´s second test of the system in a week, and claimed that the weapon would greatly increase the country´s ‘war deterrent.’
The North also on Friday fired two short-range ballistic missiles from a train in an apparent retaliation against the fresh U.S. sanctions tied to the hypersonic tests.
Friday´s test came hours after the North´s Foreign Ministry issued a statement berating the Biden administration over the new sanctions and warned of ‘stronger and certain reaction’ if Washington maintains its confrontational stance.
WHAT ARE HYPERSONIC MISSILES AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Aircraft and missiles are said to be hypersonic once they exceed speeds of Mach 5 and above, or five times the speed of sound.
This occurs at 1,715 metres per second (3,836mph / 6,174kmh).
The latest class of hypersonic missiles would be smaller, guided and designed to carry conventional explosives for time-sensitive, rapid response in theatre operations.
There are two kinds of approaches to solving the hypersonic challenge in missiles: ‘scramjet’ and ‘boost glide.’
The air-breathing scramjet relies on high speed for its power.
As it accelerates, more air and fuel is pushed into the engine, allowing it to accelerate even more – to hypersonic speeds.
The boost glide model rides a reentry vehicle to extremely high altitudes, where it skips across the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
Traditional ballistic missiles already travel at hypersonic speeds.
Built to carry nuclear and conventional warheads, these weapons are capable of reaching outer space in the course of their flights, but they can’t manoeuvre.
Source: Daily Mail