North Korea on Thursday continued its blitz of weapons tests this year by firing two suspected short-range ballistic missiles toward the East Sea, the South Korean military said.
The missiles were launched from North Korea’s eastern coastal city of Hamhung, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Intelligence authorities of Seoul and the US are conducting a detailed analysis, an official of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said in a text message sent to reporters.
It came just a day after the South Korean military claimed the North had fired two cruise missiles, but Pyongyang is yet to confirm the launches.
If confirmed, this would be Pyongyang’s sixth missile launch this month as it ramps up tests to strengthen defenses against what it claims is a “hostile” US.
North Korea has carried out four confirmed missile tests in January, including that of a newly developed hypersonic missile.
It has also hinted at restarting “all temporally-suspended” defense activities, referring to a self-imposed moratorium since 2017 on testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
During a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Washington’s threats “have reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked,” urging defense officials to start “immediately bolstering” the North’s “physical means” to counter Washington’s “hostile moves.”
US President Joe Biden’s administration has condemned the flurry of tests and imposed fresh sanctions last week, drawing warnings from the North Korean Foreign Ministry of “a stronger and clearer response” if Washington continues with its “attitude of confrontation.”
Kim also spoke about the sanctions in the Politburo meeting, terming them a “foolish act” and accusing Washington of trying to deprive the North of its right to self-defense.
Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last week criticized North Korea’s aggressive moves, with the US president vowing that Washington will still continue its efforts for dialogue, according to the Yonhap report.