In the midst of rising tensions with the United States, North Korea tests a railway-borne missile
On Saturday, North Korea tested a railway-borne missile in its firing drills, according to KCNA, a US official.
According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (SRBMs) 430 km (267 miles) reached a maximum altitude of 36 km (222 miles) after being launched eastward on the northwest coast of North Korea.
The official KCNA news agency did not specify the missiles' range, or trajectory, but stated that a firing drill was held in North Pyongan Province to "check and judge the proficiency in the action procedures of the railway-borne regiment."
Last September, announcing that it was intended as a possible counter-strike to threatening forces.
In a strangely fast weapon tests, North Korea has launched three ballistic missiles.
Hours before the latest test drill, North Korea slammed the United States for taking additional sanctions as a result of its recent missile launches, calling it a "provocation" and a warning of a strong reaction.
On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden's administration fought against Pyongyang and demanded that the United Nations Security Council blacklist several North Korean individuals and entities.
North Korea has defended the missile tests as its sovereign right to self-defense and accused the United States of intentionally intensifying the situation with new sanctions.
Kim Jong Un did not participate in the drill, according to KCNA. The military leadership had ordered the test "at short notice," and the system precisely struck the target on the east coast with "two tactical guided missiles."
The system "demonstrated a high manoeuvrability and a rate of hits," according to KCNA, adding that its success led to discussions to "create a proper railway-borne missile operating system across the country."
North Korea has been steadily developing its weapons systems, raising the risk of stalled discussions aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in exchange for US sanctions relief.
Chung Eui-yong of South Korea and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have condemned the latest launch during their phone call on Saturday and coordinated response to the North's recent missile tests, according to the State Department.
Both sides emphasized the importance of maintaining a tight, stable, and robust readiness posture, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.
'AT SHORT NOTICE,' says the author.
Cheong Seong-chang, director of North Korean research at South Korea's Sejong Institute, said the test might be an "instant demonstration of force" to protest against the US sanctions proposal, adding that it was not planned in advance and unusually took place in the afternoon.
"It's a message that governments would adopt an "eye to eye" approach if Washington demands sanctions for testing non-long-range missiles," Cheong said.
As a result of KCNA's missile launch, it retraced a column of smoke and flame, before arrowing down on a small island, sending up a cloud of debris and smoke.
North Korea's limited and sometimes unreliable rail network is still unavoidable, so rail mobile missiles are a relatively cheap and effective solution to improve their nuclear capabilities, making it difficult for enemies to detect and destroy them before being fired, according to experts.
Kim Dong-yup, a former South Korea Navy officer who teaches at Seoul's Kyungnam University, claims that North Korea has fired KN-23 SRBMs, which were also test fired in September.
The Iskander-M SRBM, first tested in May 2019, is visually striking and is designed to avoid missile defences and conduct a precision strikes, according to experts.