Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) — North Korea on Tuesday launched a ballistic missile into its eastern seas, its second weapon launch in a week, the armies of South Korea and Japan said.
This month’s launches follow a series of weapons tests in 2021 that underscore how North Korea is using its military capabilities amid a self-imposed pandemic lockdown and stalemate nuclear talks with the United States. continues to expand.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the North fired at least one weapon early Tuesday, but did not immediately say whether it was ballistic or how far it flew. Japan’s Prime Minister’s Office and Defense Ministry said the North Korean weapon was likely a ballistic missile, but did not immediately provide further details.
The Guam Office of Homeland Security and Civil Defense said it was monitoring reports of the North’s launch, but there was no immediate threat assessment to Guam, a major US military center in the Pacific.
The latest launch comes six days after the North fired a ballistic missile into the ocean in what was later described as a successful test of a hypersonic missile, a type of weapon the North claimed to have first tested in September.
The test comes days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to strengthen his military forces despite difficulties related to the pandemic during a major political conference.
US-led diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program has stalled since 2019 due to controversies over international sanctions on North Korea. The Biden administration has called for a resumption of nuclear diplomacy “anywhere and at any time” without any preconditions, but North Korea has argued that the US must first consider it before resuming any talks. You should withdraw your enmity against him.
North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal is at the core of Kim’s regime and what it clearly sees as the strongest guarantee of its existence. During his 10-year rule, he conducted a large number of weapons tests to gain the ability to launch nuclear strikes on the US mainland.
But his country’s economy has seriously faltered over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, US-led sanctions on his nuclear ambitions, and his government’s own mismanagement.
__ Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.