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North Korea fired two new ballistic missiles despite US sanctions, South Korea says

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The American announcements did not prevent Pyongyang from carrying out its third weapons test in two weeks. North Korea fired two new ballistic missiles on Friday January 14, according to the South Korean military.

Despite international sanctions against its banned weapons programs, Pyongyang has already fired two missiles, presented as hypersonic, since the beginning of the year. A first on January 5 and a second, supervised in person by leader Kim Jong-un, on January 11. In response, Washington decided on Wednesday to impose new financial sanctions on five North Korean nationals. For its part, Pyongyang promised on Friday never to give up its “right to self-defense”.

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Friday morning’s projectiles, short-range ballistic missiles, were launched toward the eastern Korean peninsula, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The launches took place at 2:41 p.m. and 2:52 p.m. (6:41 a.m. and 6:52 a.m. Paris time) and the missiles traveled a distance of 432 kilometers at an altitude of 36 kilometers.

The South Korean Security Council has “deeply regretted” this test which, he lamented, “does not contribute to stability on the Korean Peninsula at this critical time”.

In Tokyo, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the projectiles fell outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. These repeated tests prove that Pyongyang “seeks to improve its launch technologies”, did he declare.

Pyongyang accuses Washington of aggravating the situation

Following the sanctions announced by Washington and which “target North Korea’s continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for the manufacture of weapons”, Pyongyang has accused the United States of aggravating “intentionally” the situation.

Yes “the United States adopts such a confrontational attitude, the DPRK [République populaire démocratique de Corée] will be forced to react in a stronger and more certain way”, said the spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry, according to the official KCNA news agency. North Korea has the “legitimate right” to develop new weapons as part of its desire to “to modernize its national defense capability”, he added.

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on North Korea to negotiate with the United States, which he said does not nurture any “hostile intent” against the Kim Jong-un regime. Further testing is “deeply destabilizing, dangerous and contrary to a whole series of resolutions of the United Nations Security Council”, Mr. Blinken said in a televised interview.

Dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington remains deadlocked after talks between Kim Jong-un and then-US President Donald Trump broke down in 2019.

The World with AFP