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North Korea launches unidentified missiles: report

North Korea launched unidentified two missiles eastward on Friday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported. Hours earlier, Pyongyang accused the US of “provocations” and threatened retaliation for seeking to impose new sanctions on it.

Earlier on Friday, the South Korean authorities reported that Pyongyang launched just one missile.

According to Japan’s coast guard, the North fired what could be a ballistic missile.

The launch would be the third since New Year’s day, an unusually high pace of missile tests. “The previous two were of hypersonic missiles,” North Korean state media reported, “capable of high speeds and manoeuvring after launch.”

“North Korea defended its missile tests as its legitimate right to self-defence and said the US was intentionally escalating the situation by imposing new sanctions,” the country’s state media reported earlier on Friday, citing its Foreign Ministry.

As the ministry pointed out in a statement, “North Korea’s recent development of a ‘new-type weapon’ was just part of its efforts to modernise its national defence capability, and did not target any specific country or harm the security of neighbouring countries.”

The statement also warned of an unspecified “stronger and certain reaction” if the US adopts a confrontational stance.

The administration of US President Joe Biden on Wednesday imposed its first sanctions over North Korea’s weapons programmes following a series of the country’s missile launches. It also called on the UN Security Council to take action against several North Korean individuals and entities accused of violating security council resolutions that ban the country’s missile and nuclear weapons development.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the country had made clear it had no hostile intent toward North Korea and was willing to engage in talks without preconditions, but that the tests were “profoundly destabilising.”

The North Korean foreign ministry said that while Washington may talk of diplomacy and dialogue, its actions show “it is still engrossed in its policy for isolating and stifling North Korea.”

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