0845 GMT January 20, 2022
Two weeks of missile launches by North Korea, retaliatory sanctions designations by the United States, and indignant statements by both sides raised the spectre of a return to the 2017 days of "fire and fury" threats before a flurry of diplomacy stalled and slipped back into a standoff, Reuters reported.
The launch is be the third since New Year's day, an unusually rapid pace of such tests. The previous two were of "hypersonic missiles," North Korean state media said, or projectiles capable of high speeds and manoeuvering after launch.
North Korea defended the missile tests as part of its legitimate right to self-defence and said the United States was intentionally escalating the situation with new sanctions, state media said on Friday, citing the Foreign Ministry.
South Korea's National Security Council held an emergency meeting and expressed "strong regret" over the test and called on Pyongyang to return to talks.
"It emphasised that North Korea's series of missile tests are not helpful for stabilising the situation of the Korean Peninsula at this important time, and urged North Korea to swiftly respond to calls for dialogue," the presidential Blue House said in a statement.