North Korea tested a railway-borne missile in its firing drills on Friday (Jan 15), state media KCNA said on Saturday, marking its third weapons test this month.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected what it presumed were two short-range ballistic missiles launched eastward from North Pyongan Province on the northwest coast of North Korea.
The official KCNA news agency said a firing drill was held to “check and judge the proficiency in the action procedures of the railway-borne regiment,” which the country tested for the first time last September, designed as a potential counter-strike to any threatening forces.
Earlier on Friday, North Korea berated the Biden administration for imposing fresh sanctions against the country over its latest missile tests and warned of stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance”.
In a statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency, an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesperson defended the North’s recent launches of purported hypersonic missiles as a righteous exercise of self-defence.
The spokesperson said the new sanctions underscore hostile US intent aimed at “isolating and stifling” the North despite Washington’s repeated calls for Pyongyang to resume diplomacy that has stalled over disagreements about sanctions relief and nuclear disarmament steps.
The Biden administration on Wednesday 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 latest missile test this week and also said it would seek new United Nations sanctions.
The announcement by the Treasury Department came just hours after North Korea said leader Kim Jong Un oversaw a successful test of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday that he claimed would greatly increase the country’s nuclear “war deterrent”.