SEOUL – North Korea fired two missiles eastward today, (Janury 17), in what is becoming an intense barrage of test launches: It is the fourth since January 5.

According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, two suspected short-range ballistic missiles were fired eastward from the area of Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport on Monday morning.

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the missiles flew about 300 kilometers, reaching a maximum altitude of around 50 kilometers.

Even though Sunan is one of the world’s least busy international airports, and North Korea is in deep border lockdown over Covid-19, the fact that the missiles were fired from, or close to, the civil facility – the rough equivalent of a missile being tested at New York’s JFK or London’s Heathrow – shows massive confidence, an analyst told Asia Times.

And even by the standards of North Korea, the tempo of recent tests is extreme.