North Korea Fires Short-Range Missiles in Sixth Weapons Test of New Year

The Kim Jong Un regime in North Korea has hinted it may resume long-range or nuclear tests, after refraining from such activity for more than four years.


JUNG YEON-JE/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

SEOUL—North Korea conducted its sixth weapons test since Jan. 5, South Korea’s military said, flying two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast.

The missiles were launched around 8 a.m. local time Thursday, from an area near the country’s northeastern city of Hamhung. The flight distance of the missiles wasn’t immediately known.

The Thursday launch comes two days after the

Kim Jong Un

regime had test-fired what South Korea’s military suspected were cruise missiles. South Korea is closely monitoring the situation and maintaining its defense posture, the country’s military said.

North Korea’s launch of ballistic missiles is barred by United Nations Security Council Resolutions, given how the weapons can attain intercontinental reach. Cruise missiles, which aren’t covered by the U.N. resolutions, tend to fly at much lower altitudes and travel shorter distances in general.

Pyongyang’s weapons activity, which has ramped up since last fall, has drawn blowback from Washington, Tokyo and other world capitals. The U.S. cited ballistic-missile tests as a motivator, when it blacklisted earlier this month a handful of North Koreans involved in the regime’s weapons program.

The Kim regime has hinted it may resume long-range or nuclear tests, after refraining from such activity for more than four years. It asserts that the weapons launches are a sovereign right. At a Politburo meeting last week, North Korea blasted the Biden administration for intentionally escalating tensions.

Pyongyang has never started a new calendar year with so many missile tests. The country’s other four launches included what it said was hypersonic technology, plus missiles fired from a train and from an airfield.

From railway-launched missiles to hypersonic ones, North Korea has been displaying new weapons alongside its nuclear bombs and submarines. WSJ takes a look at Pyongyang’s growing arsenal to see what message it sends to the world. Composite: Diana Chan

Write to Timothy W. Martin at [email protected]

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