SEOUL: North Korea on Friday said it had test-fired two”new-type tactical guided missiles” a day earlier, state news outlet KCNA reported.
North Korea’s Academy of Defence Science carried out the testing and deemed it “very successful,” KCNA reported.
The two missiles successfully hit their targets in waters 600 kilometres off the coast and the new weapons system can carry a warhead weight of 2.5 tonnes, according to the report.
Party official Ri Pyong Chol, who oversaw the launch, was cited as saying the weapons system is of “great significance in bolstering up the military power of the country and deterring all sorts of military threats existing on the Korean Peninsula.”
The projectiles are thought to be the first ballistic missiles launched by Pyongyang since Joe Biden took office, and prompted the US president to pledge a response if the rogue nuclear nation continues to escalate tensions. The country is banned from testing ballistic missiles by UN resolutions, and has been slapped with tough international sanctions to deter it from continuing to develop rockets that could be equipped with nuclear warheads.
The two short-range missiles were launched from the North Korean town of Hamju in the early hours of Thursday and travelled some 450 kilometres, according to South Korea’s military Joint Chiefs of Staff.
South Korean President Moon Jae In on Friday said that “actions providing difficulty for the mood for dialogue are undesirable,” according to news agency Yonhap.
Moon also acknowledged that “people are greatly concerned” by North Korea’s missile launches, calling for more dialogue between the Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul.
The move also prompted condemnation from Japan and calls from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for fresh negotiations over the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
It marks the second launch by North Korea in a week — Pyongyang had fired two cruise missiles off its west coast on Sunday.
That test came in the wake of joint military exercises by the armed forces of South Korea and the US. The nine-day command exercise, which did not include field training, ended on Thursday last week.
The influential sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, Kim YoJong, had condemned the military exercises and accused the new US administration of wanting to cause trouble as a first step.
Washington’s negotiations with Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons programme have not made any progress since former president Donald Trump’s failed summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in February 2019.