Despite condemnation and sanctions, North Korea continues to test-fire ballistic missiles

North Korea announced that it tested a rail-borne missile on Friday, its third test this month, amid condemnation from the United States and Britain.

And the North Korean news agency reported that the military tested a missile launched from a railway system on Friday, in the first test of its kind in the country.

The agency said that the firing exercise aims to “verify and judge the efficiency of the operating procedures of the railway mobile system”, which the country tested for the first time last September, and was designed as a strike force against any threatening forces.

This is the third launch since the start of the new year, an unusually fast rate of missile tests.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the South Korean armed forces stated that his country detected the launch of two short-range, unguided ballistic missiles from the northwestern coast of North Korea, and they traveled about 430 kilometers with a height of 36 kilometers.

In Japan, a Defense Ministry official said the two missiles appeared to have fallen into the sea outside his country’s exclusive economic zone.

“North Korea’s actions, including repeated ballistic missile launches, threaten the security of our people and the region, which is an issue of concern to the entire international community,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a regular news conference.

The missile was launched from aboard vehicles traveling on railways (Reuters)

condemnation and penalties

On the other hand, the US Army’s Indo-Pacific Command said that although the launch did not pose a direct threat to the United States or its allies, it sheds light on the “destabilizing effect of (North Korea’s) illegal weapons program.”

“We remain committed to the DPRK’s diplomatic approach and call on the DPRK to engage in dialogue. Our commitment to defending (South) Korea and Japan remains unwavering,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement yesterday.

Yesterday’s test came hours after North Korea criticized the US move to impose new sanctions in response to its previous experiences, describing it as a “provocation”, and also warned of a “stronger reaction” if the United States adopted a confrontational approach.

On Wednesday, the United States imposed its first sanctions on North Korea’s weapons programs, following a series of missile launches, and called on the UN Security Council to take action against individuals and entities in North Korea accused of violating council resolutions banning the development of missiles and nuclear weapons.

In turn, Britain on Friday condemned the missile tests, and a foreign ministry spokeswoman said: “It is critical that sanctions targeting (North Korea’s) development of illegal weapons continue as long as these programs continue.”

“We urge North Korea to refrain from further provocations and return to dialogue with the United States,” she added.

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