Pyongyang test-fires suspected ballistic missile
North Korea has reportedly conducted another missile launch, test-firing a projectile towards the Sea of Japan.
The launch took place on Sunday morning local time, the South Korean and the Japanese military reported. The missile was apparently fired from North Korea’s Chagang province, according to Seoul.
The projectile is reported to have flown some 800km, before falling into the sea outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Kyodo reported, citing the country’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. He denounced the launch as a violation of UN sanctions imposed on North Korea.
Shortly after the incident, South Korean President Moon Jae-in convened a plenary session of the National Security Council (NCS), Yonhap reported, pointing out that it was the first time “in about a year” that he had presided over such a session. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was expected to convene a meeting of his own National Security Council later on Sunday.
Pyongyang has tested multiple missiles of various types this year, with Sunday's launch becoming the seventh for the reclusive nation in just one month.
Earlier this week, North Korea claimed to have test-fired surface-to-surface tactical guided missiles on Thursday and two long-range cruise missiles on Tuesday.
The latter test drew condemnation from Washington, which accused the country of violating UN Security Council resolutions. Cruise missiles are not expressly banned under the resolutions on North Korea. However, Pyongyang is prohibited from launching ballistic missiles.
In addition to firing short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles as part of its recent flurry of launches, North Korea also claimed to have conducted tests of hypersonic missiles on January 5 and 11.
Despite taking its missile activity up a notch in recent weeks, the nation still continues to abide by a self-imposed moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. However, last week, North Korea’s state media reported that the country’s top authority – the politburo – was considering the possibility of “restarting all temporarily suspended activities” to counter “hostile” US policies.
Since the denuclearization talks between the US and North Korea, initiated by former US President Donald Trump, fizzled out with Washington rejecting Pyongyang’s demands for partial sanctions relief, North Korea has said it wouldn’t resume negotiations until Washington abandons its current policy.