North Korea launches missiles from railway-based systems
North Korea's latest launch of missiles fired from a train is the country's third in one month.
North Korea launched two tactical missiles from railway-based systems on Friday, according to the state-run KCNA news agency.
"A firing drill for checking and judging the proficiency in the action procedures of the railway-borne missile regiment of North Phyongan Province took place on Friday," KCNA reported.
Both missiles reportedly hit their targets in the Sea of Japan with pinpoint accuracy.
"The combat posture of the railway-borne missile regiment of North Phyongan Province which demonstrated high maneuverability and rate of hits in the drill was highly appreciated in the review and the issues were discussed to set up proper railway-borne missile operating system across the country and to find out ways for further completing our style fighting methods with the railway-borne missiles," KCNA added.
The launch on Friday is North Korea's third missile test in the last two weeks. Earlier this week, North Korea said it launched a hypersonic missile that flew 620 miles at an altitude of about 37 miles, which Kim Jong Un personally oversaw. On January 5, North Korea conducted its first missile test for this year.
Blinken condemned Pyongyang's missile launches
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned North Korea's recent missile launches and described them as "violations of UN Security Council resolutions" during a phone call with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-Yong, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
"Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Republic of Korea (ROK) Foreign Minister Chung Eui-Yong," Price said in a press release on Friday. "Secretary Blinken reaffirmed that the US-ROK Alliance is the linchpin of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Secretary Blinken condemned the DPRK’s recent ballistic missile launches, which violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions."
The US sanctions five North Koreans
Following the first two missiles launch, the United States imposed sanctions Wednesday on five North Koreans allegedly linked to the “country's ballistic missile program.”
The Treasury Department accused the five North Koreans of being "responsible for procuring goods for the DPRK's (North Korea's) weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programs."
"Today's actions, part of the United States' ongoing efforts to counter the DPRK's weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, target its continued use of overseas representatives to illegally procure goods for weapons," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.
The latest launches "are further evidence that it continues to advance prohibited programs despite the international community's calls for diplomacy and denuclearization," Nelson claimed.
North Korea launches two ballistic missiles
According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, North Korea allegedly fired one ballistic missile from the country's interior toward the Sea of Japan.
"North Korea today at about 8:10 a.m. fired one presumably ballistic missile from the interior part of the country towards the Sea of Japan. The intelligence agencies of South Korea and the United States are conducting a detailed analysis of the additional information," the South Korean military told reporters in a statement.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the rocket was launched from the country's interior, implying that it was fired from a ground-based launcher.
The second missile
The early-morning launch occurred as the United Nations Security Council convened in New York to discuss last week's test conducted by Pyongyang.
According to a statement from the President's office, South Korea's national security council expressed "strong regret over the launch" following an emergency meeting.
"(The suspected missile) is estimated to have flown approximately up to 700 kilometers and landed outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone," he said.