North Korea nuclear program
North Korea nuclear program iStock

North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles from an airport in its capital city of Pyongyang on Monday (local time), South Korea's military reported, according to Reuters.

Japan's government also reported the launch, with chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno condemning the launches as a threat to the region's peace and security.

The launch appeared to involve two SRBMs fired east from Sunan Airfield in Pyongyang, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The launches mark North Korea’s fourth missile test in recent weeks. On January 5, Pyongyang said it had test fired a "hypersonic missile" that successfully hit a target.

Last week, North Korea said it conducted a test-firing of a hypersonic missile.

The North said the projectile hit the "set target in waters 1,000 km off" and added that leader Kim Jong Un attended the firing.

This past Friday, the country test-fired ballistic missiles from a train in an apparent reprisal over fresh sanctions imposed by the Biden administration last week for its continuing test launches.

North Korea regularly launches ballistic missiles and had a series of such tests in late 2021, the most recent of which was in October when it test-fired a new ballistic missile from a submarine.

North Korea restarted its missile tests after denuclearization talks with the United States came to a halt.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The Biden administration reached out to North Korea shortly after taking office, but the country did not respond to those overtures.

In Biden’s first policy speech to Congress, he said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

Responding to that speech, North Korea dismissed the idea of talks with Washington, saying Biden’s speech was “intolerable” and “a big blunder."

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