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North Korea launches missiles in response to US sanctions

North Korea launched additional missiles on 14 January in an apparent response to additional US sanctions on the Northeast Asian nation.

The tests constitute the latest in a series of weapons trials that North Korea has undertaken in a little over a week. Other missiles – both of which were claimed by Pyongyang as hypersonic weapons – were fired on 5 and 11 January.

The Japan Coast Guard announced on 14 January that a “possible ballistic missile” was launched from North Korea at 14:55 local time. Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) made a similar claim.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that North Korea had fired what it said appeared to be two short-range projectiles in an eastward direction from a site in North Pyongan Province, a northwestern region bordering China.

The JCS added that the projectiles flew around 430 km at an altitude of 36 km. It added that the US and South Korean intelligence authorities are reviewing the missile launches to understand their capability.

North Korea had not made any statement about the launch at the time of publication.

However, in a statement published by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), a spokesperson for North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned on 14 January that Pyongyang would “respond more strongly and clearly” against provocation from the US.

On 12 January the US Department of the Treasury introduced sanctions on six North Koreans that it said were “responsible for procuring goods for [North Korea's] weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile-related programmes”.

The sanctions were the latest that the US and United Nations have invoked against the country since the early 2000s. These were similarly in response to North Korea's development of nuclear missile capabilities.

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