North Korea appears to have launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday, in what would be the regime’s fourth such test just 17 days into 2022.
The latest test occurred on January 17 and saw the ballistic missiles launched from an airfield in Pyongyang.
As reported, the missiles from the Monday’s test flew about 380 kilometers at a top speed of Mach 5.
Should reports from South Korea be accurate, it would also mean that the North has launched a total of six missiles of different types this year.
The year’s first test took place on January 5, with the launch of what was claimed to be a Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile. The second test took place on January 11 and saw a ballistic missile fly into the East Sea.
In its third test of the year, North Korea launched two rail-mobile KN-23 ballistic missiles from the North Pyongan Province, sending them on a 430-kilometer flight toward an uninhabited island off its east coast.
While yet unconfirmed, the test from January 17 appears to have involved KN-23 missiles once again. KN-23 is said to be modeled after Russia’s Iskander ballistic missile, South Korean officials have said.
Japan’s defense ministry also observed the Monday’s launch, saying the missile fell near the east coast of North Korea, outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone waters.
Commenting on North Korea’s third test from January 14, the US Indo-Pacific Command said it was aware of the ballistic missile launches, adding that events so far did not pose an immediate threat to US personnel or territory or to allies.
“These missile launches highlight the destabilizing impact of the DPRK’s illicit weapons program,” the command said.
It should also be noted that the launch comes after a Center for Strategic and International Security (CSIS) report, which claimed that North Korea’s Sinpo-C submarine had been damaged during a submarine-launched ballistic missile test from October 2021. The report relied on satellite imagery to observe the submarine undergoing repair work on its sail, where the submarine’s sole missile launch tube is located.