N.Korea fires several cruise missiles off east coast

N.Korea fires several cruise missiles off east coast
N.Korea fires several cruise missiles off east coast

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - This combination of pictures taken on February 11, 2024 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 12, 2024 shows The Academy of Defence Science conducting a ballistic control test firing of a 240 mm-caliber controllable multiple rocket launcher, at an undisclosed location in North Korea.— KCNA VIA KNS / AFP pix

SEOUL, Feb 14 — North Korea fired several cruise missiles off its east coast today, Seoul’s military said, the latest in a string of weapons tests this year.

“Our military detected several unknown cruise missiles over the waters northeast of Wonsan around 09:00 today (1200 GMT) and South Korea-US intelligence authorities are conducting a detailed analysis,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

It added that it was “strengthening surveillance and vigilance, and closely watching for any additional signs and activities from North Korea”.

Earlier this week, North Korea announced it had tested of a new control system for a multiple rocket launcher it said would have an “increased” battlefield role.


So far this year, Kim has declared South Korea his country’s “principal enemy”, jettisoned agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach, and threatened war over “even 0.001 mm” of territorial infringement.

Pyongyang has also been ramping up weapons tests, including an “underwater nuclear weapon system” test and the firing of a solid-fuelled hypersonic ballistic missile.

It has also launched a flurry of cruise missiles, prompting speculation from experts that it is testing the weapons before shipping them to Moscow for use in Ukraine.


Pyongyang and Moscow have bolstered ties in recent months, with leader Kim Jong-un making a rare trip to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin in September.

Seoul and Washington have accused the North of supplying Russia with weapons in exchange for Moscow’s technical support for Kim’s nascent satellite program, which would violate a raft of UN sanctions on both regimes.

Unlike their ballistic counterparts, the testing of cruise missiles is not banned under current UN sanctions on Pyongyang.

Cruise missiles tend to be jet-propelled and fly at a lower altitude than more sophisticated ballistic missiles, making them harder to detect and intercept.

‘Put an end’ to South Korea

Leader Kim repeated on Friday that Pyongyang would not hesitate to “put an end” to South Korea if attacked, calling Seoul the North’s “most dangerous and first enemy state and invariable arch-enemy”.

In January, North Korea fired an artillery barrage near two South Korean border islands, prompting a live-fire drill by the South and evacuation orders for residents.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has vowed a strong response if Pyongyang attacks, calling on his military to “act first, report later” if provoked.

The hawkish Yoon has bolstered defence cooperation with the United States and Japan since coming to office in 2022, including expanding joint drills, to counter Pyongyang’s growing threats.

Pyongyang has drawn closer to Moscow in other areas than defence, with a group of Russian tourists — the first known foreign tour group since before pandemic-linked border closures in 2020 — arriving in the North Friday for a four-day visit.

It has become harder for Russians to travel to Europe and the United States since sanctions were imposed following the invasion of Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has also visited Pyongyang, said last year that the North could be recommended as a tourist destination, Tass reported. — AFP

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