N.Korea fires ballistic missile into East Sea

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SEOUL, Jan 30 – North Korea fired one apparent ballistic missile towards the East Sea on Sunday, South Korea’s military said, in the recalcitrant regime’s seventh show of force this year, reported Yonhap news agency.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the northern province of Jagang bordering China at 7.52 am. It did not elaborate.

Jagang Province is where the North conducted the launches of its self-proclaimed hypersonic missiles in September last year and on Jan 5 and 11.

“Our military is tracking and monitoring related North Korean movements and maintaining a readiness posture,” the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

Pyongyang has been ratcheting up tensions with a series of missile launches since the start of this year as Washington has stepped up sanctions pressure amid a protracted deadlock in nuclear talks between the two countries.

The North launched the largest monthly number of projectiles in January since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took power in late 2011. It conducted six projectile launches in both March and July 2014.

North Korea conducted six missile tests in January, including a hypersonic missile on Jan 5 and Jan 11 each, two railway-borne short-range ballistic missiles on Jan 14, two tactical guided missiles on Jan 17, a long-range cruise missile on Tuesday, and a surface-to-surface tactical guided missile on Thursday. Sunday’s launch marked the seventh of such tests.

The South Korean military has been keeping close tabs on North Korean military movements as the North made a thinly veiled threat to lift its yearslong moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The recent bouts of the North’s saber-rattling also came as it seeks to tighten internal unity amid the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent economic woes stemming from debilitating sanctions.- BERNAMA

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