SEOUL – North Korea fired an unidentified projectile off its east coast on Friday, hours after it warned of a “stronger and surest response” if the United States helped impose more sanctions on North Korea in response to its recent series of missile tests.
The South Korean military said its analysts are studying the route and other flight data from the launch to learn more. When North Korea launches a missile, the South’s military usually calls it an “unidentified missile” before going into more detail.
Earlier on Friday, the North’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement denouncing the US proposal that the UN Security Council impose new sanctions on North Korea after its six ballistic and other missile tests since September 2021.
Ties between North Korea and the United States have raised tensions at a sensitive time in the region, with China preparing to host the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month and South Korea for its presidential elections on March 9.
Separately, the Biden administration on Wednesday blacklisted five North Korean officials active in Russia and China that Washington said were responsible for purchasing goods for North Korean weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programs.
North Korea resumed missile testing in September after a six-month hiatus. It has since conducted at least six missile tests, including a long-range strategic cruise missile, a ballistic missile exiting mountain tunnels, and a small submarine-launched ballistic missile. In two tests this month, it launched what it called hypersonic ballistic missiles with detachable gliding warheads that made them more difficult to intercept because they could change course in flight.
All of the tests violated UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missile technologies or technologies used to make and deliver nuclear weapons. But the North’s foreign ministry insisted on Friday that it was exercising its “right to self-defense” and that the missile tests were “part of its efforts to modernize its national defense capability.”
The ministry said in a statement, using the abbreviation of North Korea’s official name, Democratic People. The Republic of Korea. “If the United States adopts such a confrontational attitude, the DPRK will be forced to take a stronger and emphatic response to it,” she added.
The statement did not clarify possible future actions by North Korea. But the country has resumed missile tests since meetings between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and then-president Donald J. Trump ended without agreement on how to roll back North Korea’s nuclear weapons program or when sanctions would be lifted.
Those tests indicate that North Korea has been developing more sophisticated ways to deliver nuclear warheads and other warheads to South Korea, Japan and US bases there using its short-range missiles, according to defense analysts. Analysts said some of the missiles it tested since 2019 used solid fuel and conducted mid-air maneuvers, making them more difficult to intercept.
North Korea has not resumed testing any long-range missiles of the type that could directly threaten the continental United States since it conducted three intercontinental missile tests in 2017. But since the collapse of Kim and Trump’s diplomacy, North Korea has warned that it no longer does. She felt bound by a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. It has since unveiled its largest yet-to-be-tested ICBM during a military parade and exhibition.
During a Workers’ Party meeting in January last year, Mr. Kim pledged to make more advanced short-range nuclear missiles, supersonic missiles, large ICBMs and long-range submarine-launched missiles, as well as put into orbit military spy satellites.
On Friday, North Korea reiterated that its missile tests “did not target any specific country or force nor did any harm to the security of neighboring countries.” But in Tuesday’s test, the North Korean hypersonic missile traversed the country from west to east and then veered to the northeast, flying over the waters between the Russian Far East and Japan toward the Pacific Ocean, according to its trajectory map. Posted in North Korean state media.
North Korea said the missile hit a target 621 miles away. With the missile blasting from North Korea at up to 10 times the speed of sound, flight regulators briefly halted flights from some airports on the US West Coast as a precaution.
This was the first missile test Kim attended since March 2020, according to North Korean media reports.
The test prompted South Korea to assure its residents this week that its military could detect and intercept North Korea’s new missiles.
Washington has done over and over again urge North Korea will return to the talks, but the country has said it will only do so after it is convinced that the United States will remove its “hostile” policy, including sanctions.
China, which can veto Washington’s attempt to impose more sanctions in the Security Council, has called for dialogue.
“Deliberate sanctions are not conducive to resolving the issue of the Korean Peninsula, but only aggravate the confrontational situation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said during a press briefing on Wednesday.