North Korea fired two more ballistic missiles Friday, marking the third such launch in 2022, and the second this week. According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missiles were fired 11 minutes apart from an inland area in western North Pyongan province. They flew 267 miles cross-country with a maximum altitude of 22 miles before landing in the sea.
Japan’s coast guard urged vessels to pay attention to falling objects. While Chief Cabinet Secetary Hirokazu Matsuno said there were no reports of damage to vessels or aircraft, he said the threat from North Korea was not yet over.
“North Korea’s ongoing military activity, including its repeated ballistic missile launches, are threats to the peace and safety of Japan and the region, and are serious concerns for all of the international society,” Matsuno said.
After the second launch, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim held separate calls with officials in Japan and South Korea.
“Special Representative Kim emphasized U.S. condemnation of the… ballistic missile launches, which violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions,” the State Department said in a news release. According to the department, Kim also called on North Korea “to refrain from such destabilizing activities and engage in dialogue with the United States.”
Friday’s third launch appeared to be in retaliation to sanctions placed by the United States on five North Korean officials after the second launch. According to the Treasury Department, the five are “responsible for procuring goods for the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile-related programs.”
Hours before the launch, North Korea issued a statement blasting the Biden administration for the sanctions. North Korea warned of stronger and more explicit action if Washington maintains its “confrontational stance.”
At a high-profile ruling party conference at the beginning of the year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to further strengthen his military capability. At the time, he did not disclose any new policies toward the United States or South Korea.