North Korea Launches 2nd Ballistic Missile in a Week, South Korea Says

SEOUL – North Korea on Tuesday launched a ballistic missile off its east coast, its second weapons test in a week, as the United Nations Security Council met to discuss the growing missile threat in the country.

The South Korean military said its analysts, along with U.S. officials, were studying the trajectory and other flight data of the North Korean test to learn more about the missile.

North Korea carried out its last missile test on Wednesday, when it launched what it called a hypersonic missile off its east coast. But the South Korean military rejected the claim, saying the weapon was a common ballistic missile.

The North test on Wednesday was his second test of such a weapon since September. The tests violate several UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles or nuclear devices.

North Korea’s actions on Tuesday local time came as the Security Council met at UN headquarters in New York to discuss the country’s latest ballistic missile test, which envoys from the United States, Japan, France, Britain and two other countries called a “threat to international peace and security.”

“Each missile launch serves not only to advance the DPRK’s capabilities, but to expand the range of weapons available for export to its customers and illicit arms dealers around the world,” the envoys said in a statement. joint release, using the acronym of the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “The DPRK is making these military investments at the expense of the well-being of the North Korean people. “

The envoys urged the Council to “stand united in opposing the DPRK’s ongoing, destabilizing and illegal actions” and called on all UN member states to “meet their sanctions obligations under the resolutions of the Security Council ”.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Tuesday morning: “It is extremely regrettable that North Korea has launched a missile in this situation.”

North Korea has not tested any long-range missile that could directly threaten the continental United States since it conducted three intercontinental ballistic missile tests in 2017. But since its leader’s attempts at diplomacy, Kim Jong-un, with President Donald J Trump collapsing in 2019, the country has resumed testing mainly short-range missiles, including those launched from trains coming out of tunnels.

These tests indicated that the North was developing more sophisticated means of delivering nuclear and other warheads to South Korea, Japan and US bases, defense analysts said. Some of the missiles it has tested since 2019 have used solid fuel and maneuvered in the air, making them more difficult to intercept, defense analysts have said.

After the ICBM tests in 2017, Kim claimed his country had the capacity to launch a nuclear strike against the continental United States. Then he met with Mr. Trump three times between 2018 and 2019 to push the United States to relax sanctions imposed under Security Council resolutions.

Kim-Trump diplomacy collapsed without a deal on canceling the North’s nuclear weapons program or lifting international sanctions.

At a five-day Workers’ Party meeting that ended on December 31 in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, Kim said conditions in his country demanded “to strengthen the defense capacity of the country. ‘State’ without ‘a moment’s delay’.

But he also said his country should focus on reducing chronic food shortages – a problem he inherited from Kim Jong-il, his father and predecessor, who died 10 years ago, and which the North did not has not yet resolved. .

North Korea remains extremely suspicious of any contact with the outside world during the coronavirus pandemic and has not claimed any cases of the virus in the country, which outside experts have questioned.

Rick gladstone contributed to New York reporting, and Motoko Rich from Tokyo.

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