North Korea launched a pair of short-range ballistic missiles Friday in its second launch in a week and third launch in 2022, three governments confirmed.
One of the missiles landed near the east coast of Japan, the country’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said. Kishi told reporters that Japan would “consider all options, including the possession of so-called enemy base strike capabilities,” in response to the strike, Kyodo News reported.
The launches came from a site in North Pyongan Province, where North Korea operates several missile bases, according to the South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff. North Pyongan Province is located in the northwest portion of the country and shares a border with China.
U.S. Indo-Pacific Command announced Friday that it is “consulting closely with our allies and partners” on the launch, which it determined “does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies.” (RELATED: North Korean Military Puts On Bizarre Stunts Alongside Nuclear Missile Exhibition)
However, the “missile launch highlights the destabilizing impact of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) illicit weapons program,” Indo-Pacific Command added in a statement. “The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad.”
— U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (@INDOPACOM) January 14, 2022
North Korea launched missiles Jan. 6 and Jan. 11, with Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un demanding an end to sanctions and joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea in exchange for an end to the tests. The U.S. Department of Defense issued similar statements after both launches. Authorities briefly grounded some flights on the West Coast of the U.S. following reports of North Korea launching missiles earlier in January.
The country resumed enriching plutonium at its Yongbyon-based nuclear reactor in July 2021, after pausing operations in 2018.