North Korea tests a missile from a train amid tension with Washington
North Korea test-fired a missile from a train during a launch exercise yesterday, North Korea’s state news agency said on Saturday, as the United States moved to impose new sanctions following a series of recent weapons tests.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said that two short-range ballistic missiles traveled a distance of about 430 km, with a maximum altitude of 36 km, after they were launched eastward from the northwestern coast of North Korea.
The Korean Central News Agency did not say the range or trajectory of the two missiles, but said the launch exercise was aimed at “verifying and judging the efficiency of the operating procedures of the railway mobile system”.
Pyongyang first tested the launch system from trains last September, and it is designed as a counterweight to any threatening forces.
Since the beginning of the year, North Korea has launched three ballistic missiles in unusually fast succession for weapons tests.
Previous launches included two missiles described by official media as “supersonic” capable of moving at high speed and maneuvering after launch.
Hours before the latest test launch, North Korea criticized the United States for imposing new sanctions in response to the missile tests, calling it a “provocation” and warning of a strong response.
On Wednesday, the administration of US President Joe Biden imposed its first sanctions on North Korea, and demanded the UN Security Council to blacklist North Korean individuals and entities.
Pyongyang defended its missile tests as a legitimate right of self-defense, and accused Washington of deliberately escalating the situation with new sanctions. The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, did not attend the launch test. The Korean Central News Agency said that the army command ordered the test to be carried out “within a short period of time,” adding that the system accurately targeted the designated target on the eastern coast with “two guided missiles.”