New Delhi | Reuters: Nuclear-armed North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said on Thursday, in what would be the sixth round of missile tests this month. It is among the most missiles ever launched by North Korea in a month, analysts said, as Pyongyang has kicked off 2022 by displaying a dizzying array of new and operational weapons.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected the launch of what it presumed were two ballistic missiles about 8 a.m. local time from near Hamhung, on the east coast of North Korea. They travelled for about 190km to a maximum altitude of 20km, JCS added. The suspected missiles appeared to have landed outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone, Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said.

North Korea said this month it would bolster its defences against the United States and consider resuming "all temporally-suspended activities", an apparent reference to a self-imposed moratorium on tests of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. On Tuesday, North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said, amid rising tension over a recent series of weapons tests.

Earlier in the month North Korea tested tactical guided missiles, two "hypersonic missiles" capable of high speed and maneuvering after lift-off, and a railway-borne missile system. "The (Kim Jong Un) regime is developing an impressive diversity of offensive weapons despite limited resources and serious economic challenges," said Leif-Eric Easley, an international affairs professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

Certain tests aim to develop new capabilities, especially for evading missile defenses, while other launches are intended to demonstrate the readiness and versatility of missile forces that North Korea has already deployed, he added.

In a speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday, North Korea's Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, Han Tae Song, accused the United States of staging hundreds of "joint war drills" while shipping high-tech offensive military equipment into South Korea and nuclear strategic weapons into the region.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan