North Korea’s third weapons test this month involved firing a rail missile, state media KCNA said.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said they detected what they suspected were two short-range ballistic missiles launched Friday eastward from North Pyongan province on the northwest coast of the North Korea.
The official KCNA news agency said on Saturday that a firing exercise had been held to “verify and judge the mastery of the railway regiment’s action procedures”, which North Korea first tested last September. , designed as a potential counter-strike to any threatening force.
It was the third time North Korea had launched ballistic missiles since New Year’s Day, an unusually fast pace of weapons testing. The previous two launches involved what state media called “hypersonic missiles,” capable of high speeds and post-launch maneuvering.
The exercise came just hours after Pyongyang slammed the US pursuit of new UN sanctions over a series of recent launches as a “provocation” and warned against a strong reaction.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not attend the exercise. KCNA said it was held “at short notice” by the army general staff, but the regiment precisely hit the target set on the east coast with “two tactical guided missiles”.
The regiment “demonstrated high maneuverability and hit rate” and discussed ways to “put in place [a] suitable railway missile operating system across the country,” KCNA said.
North Korea has defended the missile tests as its sovereign right to self-defense and accused the United States of intentionally aggravating the situation with new sanctions.
Washington condemned the latest launch, saying it posed a threat to Pyongyang’s neighbors and the international community, while reiterating calls for stalled denuclearization talks to resume.