North Korea Carries out 7th Missile Launch of 2022, Longest-range since 2017
North Korea's state media announced on Monday that the regime test-fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile the previous day, in what is the longest range missile the state has tested since November of 2017.
The Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) said the missile was test-fired for quality and accuracy evaluation, adding that the accuracy, safety and operation efficacy of the weapons system in production were confirmed.
Without elaboration, the KCNA said the "highest angle launch system" was applied in consideration of the safety of neighboring nations. It also released photos of the missile being launched from a transporter erector launcher(TEL).
There, however, was no reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attending the missile test.
While the North calls the Hwasong-12 an intermediate- and long-range missile, the South Korean military classifies it as an intermediate-range ballistic missile(IRBM) with an estimated top range of four-thousand-500 to five-thousand kilometers.
In response, the U.S. State Department says Washington is focused on finding a diplomatic solution while also mulling over different ways to hold Pyongyang accountable for its recent series of ballistic missile tests.
Department spokesperson Ned Price made the remark on Monday during a press conference as he described the North’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs as a challenge “that is longstanding” and “that has vexed successive administrations.”
Price said Washington slapped sanctions on eight individuals and entities linked to North Korea in January alone, adding that these are individuals and entities that supported Pyongyang’s programs in weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.
North Korea, meanwhile, has repeated calls on the United States to drop its "hostile policy" against Pyongyang before dialogue and diplomacy.
The North's foreign ministry said on Wednesday on its website that Washington would be well-advised to halt its military threat to North Korea and withdraw its hostile policy rather than publicizing a "diplomatic solution" and "dialogue."
The ministry blamed the U.S. hostile policy for the continued tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The North also condemned Washington for carrying out joint military exercises with South Korea, calling the move "a grave threat to the security" of the North.