North Korea Launches 2nd Ballistic Missile in a Week, South Korea Says

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Tuesday off its east coast, in its second weapons test in a week, as the United Nations Security Council met to discuss the country’s growing missile threat.

The South Korean military said its analysts and US officials are studying the trajectory and other flight data of North Korea’s test to learn more about the missile.

North Korea conducted its last missile test on Wednesday when it launched what it described as a hypersonic missile off its east coast. But the South Korean military denied the claim, saying the weapon was a joint ballistic missile.

North Korea’s test on Wednesday was its second such a weapon since September. These tests violate several UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from developing or testing ballistic missiles or nuclear devices.

North Korea’s actions occurred on Tuesday local time when the Security Council met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York To discuss the country’s latest ballistic missile test, which envoys from the United States, Japan, France, Britain and two other countries described as a “threat to international peace and security.”

“Each missile launch serves not only to enhance the DPRK’s endogenous capabilities, but also to expand the range of weapons available for export to its illegal customers and dealers around the world,” the envoys said in a joint statement. The official name of North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “The DPRK is making these military investments at the expense of the welfare of the North Korean people.”

The envoys urged the council to “stand united in opposing the DPRK’s continued, destabilizing and illegal actions,” and called on all UN member states to “fulfill their sanctions obligations under Security Council resolutions.”

“It is very unfortunate that North Korea fired a missile in this situation,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Tuesday morning.

North Korea has not tested 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 diplomatic attempts by its leader, Kim Jong Un, with President Donald J Trump have collapsed in In 2019, the country resumed testing of most short-range missiles, including those launched from trains exiting from tunnels.

Those tests indicate that North Korea has been developing more sophisticated ways to deliver nuclear and other warheads to bases in South Korea, Japan and the United States, according to defense analysts. Defense analysts said some of the missiles it has tested since 2019 have used solid fuel and conducted mid-air maneuvers, making them more difficult to intercept.

After ICBM tests in 2017, Kim claimed that his country had the capability to launch a nuclear strike against the continental United States. Trump then met three times between 2018 and 2019 to push the United States to ease sanctions imposed under Security Council resolutions.

Kim and Trump’s diplomacy collapsed without an agreement to roll back North Korea’s nuclear weapons program or lift international sanctions.

During the five-day Workers’ Party meeting that ended on December 31 in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, Mr. Kim said conditions in his country required “strengthening the state’s defense capability” without “a momentary delay”.

But he also said his country should focus on alleviating chronic food shortages – a problem he inherited from his father and predecessor Kim Jong Il who died 10 years ago, and which North Korea has yet to solve. .

North Korea remains extremely wary of any contact with the outside world during the coronavirus pandemic, and has not recorded any cases of the virus in the country, which has been questioned by outside experts.

Rick Gladstone Contributed to reporting from New York, and Motoko Rich from Tokyo.

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