North Korea launches second 'ballistic missile' days after first New Year rocket fired

The alleged ballistic missile launch was discovered at around 7:27 a.m. local time from an inland area of ​​North Korea towards the ocean off the east coast, officials said

North Korea launches second ballistic missile of the year (

Image: KCNA VIA KNS / AFP via Getty Image)

North Korea launched a second ballistic missile within a week on Tuesday, adding to tensions in the region.

The launches come after Leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s message, which promised to top up the military to cope with the unstable international outlook.

The South Korean military and the Japanese Coast Guard confirmed the launch of an “unknown projectile” without elaborating on it.

The alleged ballistic missile launch was discovered around 7:27 a.m. local time from an inland area in North Korea towards the ocean off its east coast, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said in a statement.

The projectile appeared to have landed outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Kyodo news agency reported, citing government sources in Tokyo.

“North Korea’s continued launching of missiles is deeply regrettable,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters, noting that the United Nations had just ended discussions on how the launch of a “supersonic missile” claimed by North Korea last week to react.

Kim Jong-un said he would strengthen the military in a New Year message
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Image:

KCNA / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)

The test start of the nuclear-armed North Korea underlined the New Year’s promise by President Kim Jong Un to strengthen the military due to the international situation amid the stalled talks with South Korea and the United States.

Last Wednesday, North Korea said it fired a “supersonic missile” that successfully hit a target.

The last apparent launch came a day after the U.S. mission to the United Nations, which had joined France, Ireland, Japan, the United Kingdom and Albania, issued a joint statement condemning last week’s test.

“These measures increase the risk of misjudgments and escalations and pose a significant threat to regional stability,” said US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield in the statement on Monday.

Such tests not only improve the north’s capabilities, but also expand its offering to illegal arms customers and dealers around the world, she added.

“(North Korea) is making this military investment at the expense of the well-being of the North Korean people,” she said.

UN Security Council resolutions have banned North Korea from all ballistic missile and nuclear tests
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Image:

The North Korean State News Agency)

South Korean military on Friday questioned the capabilities of the “Hypersonic missile,” which North Korea allegedly test-fired last week, saying it appeared to represent limited progress over the existing Pyongyang ballistic missile.

UN Security Council resolutions prohibit all ballistic missile and nuclear tests by North Korea and have imposed sanctions on the programs.

Thomas-Greenfield again urged countries around the world to enforce sanctions and urged North Korea to return to talks and abandon its missiles and nuclear weapons.

“Our goal remains the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” she said.

North Korea has said it is open to talks, but only if the US and other “hostile measures” such as sanctions and military exercises drop.

Few watchers expect Kim to ever completely abandon his nuclear arsenal. North Korea argues that its missile tests and other military activities are self-defense and are similar to those regularly carried out by other nations.

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