North Korea fired two missiles off its east coast Tuesday, South Korea’s military said. This would be the fifth such action so far this year by Kim Jong Un’s communist regime, which warned that it could lift a self-imposed moratorium on atomic bomb and long-range missile tests.

According to Reuters, South Korea’s military is evaluating Tuesday’s launches with the United States to determine the nature of the projectiles.

Last week, North Korea conducted tactical guided missile tests that “precisely hit an island target” off the east coast, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Tuesday, January 18, as reported by Aljazeera.

The Biden administration mid-month imposed sanctions on five North Koreans for their roles in obtaining equipment and technology for their country’s missile programs, a response to North Korea’s earlier tests this month.

The Treasury Department made the announcement just hours after North Korea said Kim oversaw a successful test of a hypersonic missile.

In addition to testing two hypersonic missiles, the North Korean regime 10 days ago launched a rail-borne missile system in response to U.S. sanctions.

Tensions have been rising, with leader Kim Jong Un vowing last week to bolster the armed forces and that he would consider resuming temporarily suspended nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.

Regarding this the U.S. State Department spokesman said that coordinated efforts continue with the international community to prevent North Korea’s nuclear weapons advancement, further stating that the Biden Administration is open to dialogue with Pyongyang. 

“Broadly speaking, as we have said our goal remains the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. We remain prepared to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy without preconditions to make tangible progress,” the spokesman said as reported by Reuters. 

The Pyongyang regime has so far rejected the Biden administration’s call to resume dialogue, saying the U.S. must first abandon its “hostile policy,” and has instead vowed to further expand its nuclear arsenal, which it sees as its greatest guarantee of survival.

While North Korea has not launched intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons since 2017, it has begun testing shorter-range missiles following a failed diplomatic campaign to convince the communist Korean regime to abandon its nuclear weapons program during Pyongyang’s second summit with Trump in 2019, as the U.S. rejected the North Korean leader’s demands for sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young, in charge of cross-border ties, asked North Korea to return to talks.

“While thoroughly preparing for additional tests, we’d like to emphasise again that dialogue and cooperation is the only way to peace,” he said at a meeting with foreign diplomats, according to Reuters.

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