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Fri Jan 14, 2022, 02:10 PM

North Korea is test-firing missiles again. Here's what to make of the launches.

TOKYO — North Korea has begun the new year a lot like the last: with a series of missile launches that reveal progress in diversifying and expanding its arsenal with missiles that may be harder to detect and defend against.

These tests also underscore how Kim Jong Un’s regime has been retreating inward — making apparent advances in its nuclear capabilities and ballistic weapons — while refusing to engage with U.S. and South Korean negotiators seeking to restart denuclearization talks. Since September, North Korea has conducted a number of tests of ballistic missiles despite the multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that forbid them.

On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced fresh sanctions on North Korea. In response, Pyongyang accused Washington of “intentionally escalating” tensions and said the move may trigger a “stronger” reaction. On Friday, North Korea conducted its latest missile tests.

More than four years have passed since Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Since then, Kim’s regime has shifted his focus to building a wide range of short- to intermediate-range missiles that can strike U.S. allies in the region and the U.S. forces stationed there — a strategy that has allowed Kim to advance his ballistic missile program and signal progress without directly threatening the U.S. homeland or engaging in diplomacy.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/north-korea-is-test-firing-missiles-again-heres-what-to-make-of-the-launches/ar-AASMEAg

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