North Korea has fired what are believed to be two short-range ballistic missiles – its third weapons launch this month, South Korean officials have said.
The move, which has been condemned by the British Foreign Office, is an apparent retaliation against sanctions imposed by President Joe Biden’s administration for continuing test launches.
South Korea‘s joint chiefs of staff said the missiles were fired 11 minutes apart from an area in the west North Pyongan Province.
The missiles flew 267 miles across the country, at an altitude of 22 miles, before landing in the sea.
Britain condemned the move, calling it a threat to regional peace and urging Pyongyang to refrain from further provocation.
“It is vital that sanctions against the illegal weapons development of the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) DPRK remain in place while its programs exist,” a State Department spokeswoman said.
“We urge North Korea to refrain from further provocations and return to dialogue with the United States.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed his country’s commitment to defending South Korea in a conversation with their Secretary of State on Friday.
Hours earlier, ahead of the launch, North Korea issued a statement criticizing the Biden administration for imposing new sanctions on its previous missile tests and warning of stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance.”
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The sanctions were aimed at five North Koreans over their roles in providing equipment and technology for the Nordic missile programs in response to the Nordic missile test this week. Washington also said it would seek new UN sanctions.
The test launch of a hypersonic missile on Tuesday – the second in a week – was overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who said it would increase his country’s nuclear “war deterrent”.