SEOUL (Reuters) -- North Korea fired tactical guided missiles on Monday, state media KCNA said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of recent tests that highlighted its evolving missile programs amid stalled denuclearization talks.
The missile test was the North’s fourth in 2022, with two previous launches involving “hypersonic missiles “ capable of high speed and maneuvering after lift-off, and another test on Friday using a pair of SRBMs fired from train cars. South Korea’s military said on Monday that North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) from an airport in its capital, Pyongyang, which flew about 380 km (236 miles) to a maximum altitude of 42 km (26 miles).
The Academy of Defense Science conducted a test of tactical guided missiles from the country’s west, and they “precisely hit an island target” off the east coast, the official KCNA news agency said on Tuesday, without elaborating.
“The test-fire was aimed to selectively evaluate tactical guided missiles being produced and deployed and to verify the accuracy of the weapon system,” KCNA said.
It “confirmed the accuracy, security and efficiency of the operation of the weapon system under production.”
The unusually rapid sequence of launches has drawn U.S. condemnation and a push for new UN sanctions while Pyongyang warns of stronger actions, raising the specter of a return to the period of “fire and fury” threats in 2017.
North Korea used the Sunan airport to test-fire the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) in 2017, with leader Kim Jong Un in attendance.
North Korea has not tested its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or nuclear weapons since 2017, as a flurry of diplomacy with Washington unfolded from 2018. But it began testing a range of new SRBM designs after denuclearization talks stalled and slipped back into a standoff following a failed summit in 2019.
A photo released by KCNA showed a missile rising into the sky above a cloud of dust, belching flame.