U.S. Condemns North Korean Railway, Borne Missile Launch

The U.S. chastised North Korea for its precision-guided missile test on Friday. The North’s central state news agency disclosed its railway-based missile battalion on Saturday.

In a release from the State Department, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken termed the bilateral partnership “the crux of peace, stability, and development in the Indo-Pacific area and beyond.”

A Breach of the UN Council Agreement

According to the State Department, Blinken “outlined the significance of sustained U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral collaborations.”

He also “reaffirmed the United States’ resolve to defend the ROK is ironclad,” alluding to South Korea’s formal name, the Republic of Korea.

The North Korean army’s railway-based ballistic regiment conducted an exercise Friday in Uiju, North Pyongan Region, which borders China.

This exercise was done to “check and assess the competency” of the unit’s capabilities, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The two tactical ballistic missiles, per the KCNA, hit their objectives in the eastern seas off the Korean Peninsula. The objectives are believed to have been put on Al Island, an isolated island off the east coast of the North.

The missiles traveled roughly 267.19 miles eastward at an altitude of 22.3694 miles, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS); the first launch was detected at 2:41 p.m. and the second at 2:52 p.m.

Per the military, the missiles flew at a peak speed of roughly Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound.

On the request of anonymity, a JCS officer told reporters the South Korean military thinks the North launched the missiles “to confirm the authenticity of the missiles.” 

The North’s second reported missile test utilizing a railway launch pad, after one in September the year before, is the nation’s third show of might this year.

Refusal to Dialogue

Friday’s trial was the North’s third this year, after two separate launches of what the North says were hypersonic jet missiles on January 5 and Tuesday. Kim Jong directly oversaw the latter, which North Korean state media stated.

The North’s spate of missile exercises prompted the Biden administration to impose its first restrictions on Pyongyang. The US delisted seven people and one Russian entity suspected of procuring items for the North’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) initiative from Russia and China.

According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US “would employ every appropriate option” to combat the North’s WMD and missile system programs.

He did, however, emphasize the Biden administration is “dedicated to finding discussion and diplomacy” and he urged Pyongyang to “engage in talks.”

The Biden administration has repeatedly urged North Korea to resume disarmament discussions, saying it is willing to meet with Pyongyang counterparts “wherever, anytime, without preconditions.”

Since the 2019 Hanoi meeting between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump, which ended without a deal, the North has shown very little enthusiasm for negotiations with the US.