North Korea announced, on Saturday, firing two train-borne guided missiles into the East Sea, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.
The official KCNA news agency said that a firing drill was held to “check and judge the proficiency in the action procedures of the railway-borne regiment”, which North Korea tested for the first time last September, designed as a potential counter-strike to any threatening forces.
In the same vein, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff stated that it had detected what it presumed were two short-range ballistic missiles launched eastward on Friday from North Pyongan province on the north-west coast of North Korea.
This is the third time North Korea has launched ballistic missiles since New Year’s Day, an unusually rapid pace of weapons tests. The previous two launches involved what state media called “hypersonic missiles”, capable of high speeds and manoeuvring after launch.
▪ U.S. CONDEMNS N. KOREA
— Arirang News (@arirangtvnews) January 15, 2022
The drill came just hours after Pyongyang criticised a US pursuit of new UN sanctions over a series of recent launches as a “provocation” and warned of a strong reaction.
In response, the country has defended the missile tests as its sovereign right to self-defence and accused the US of intentionally escalating the situation with new sanctions.
The regiment “demonstrated high maneuverability and rate of hits”, and discussed ways to “set up [a] proper railway-borne missile operating system across the country”, KCNA said.
Washington condemned the latest launch, affirming that it posed a threat to Pyongyang’s neighbours and the international community, while reiterating calls for a restart of stalled denuclearisation talks.