North Korea fires two ballistic missiles from Pyongyang airport

SEOUL: North Korea fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) on Monday from an airport in its capital city of Pyongyang, South Korea`s military reported, the fourth test this month to demonstrate its expanding missile arsenal.

Japan also reported the launch, with chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno condemning it as a threat to peace and security.

Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles appeared to have travelled about 300 km and landed in the ocean near North Korea`s east coast.

`ISOLATING AND STIFLING`

The latest launches have drawn both condemnation and an appeal for dialogue from a U.S. administration that has imposed new sanctions over North Korean missile launches and is pushing for more.

U.S. President Joe Biden`s administration imposed its first new sanctions on Pyongyang on Wednesday, and called on the U.N. Security Council to blacklist several North Korean individuals and entities. It also repeated calls for North Korea to return to talks aimed at reducing tension and persuading it to surrender its arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

North Korea has defended the missile tests as its sovereign right to self-defence and accused the United States of intentionally intensifying confrontation with new sanctions.

In a statement before Friday`s missile tests, the North Korean foreign ministry said that although the United States might talk of diplomacy and dialogue, its actions showed it was still engrossed in its policy of “isolating and stifling” North Korea.

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