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South Korea says North Korea fired a number of cruise missiles, including to provocative weapons checks

A TV display reveals a report of North Korea’s cruise missiles with file footage throughout a information program on the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. File.
| Photograph Credit score: AP

South Korea’s navy mentioned on January 28 that North Korea fired a number of cruise missiles that flew over waters close to a significant navy shipyard on the nation’s jap coast, extending a streak in weapons tests which are worsening tensions with america, South Korea and Japan.

The launches adopted a separate spherical of North Korean cruise missile checks final week and a Jan. 14 test-firing of the nation’s first solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile. These checks replicate North Korean chief Kim Jong-un’s efforts to broaden his arsenal of weapons designed to overwhelm missile defenses in South Korea and Japan and distant U.S. targets within the Pacific, together with Guam.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Workers mentioned they detected the missiles over waters close to the North Korean port of Sinpo, the place the North has a significant shipyard constructing key naval vessels, together with missile-firing submarines.

The South’s navy didn’t instantly present particular launch particulars, together with the variety of missiles fired, how far they flew and whether or not they had been launched from land or naval belongings.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have elevated in latest months as Kim continues to speed up his weapons growth and challenge provocative threats of nuclear battle with the U.S. and its Asian allies.

The U.S., South Korea and Japan in response have been increasing their mixed navy workout routines, which Kim portrays as invasion rehearsals, and sharpening their deterrence methods constructed round nuclear-capable U.S. belongings.

North Korea mentioned its launches final week concerned a brand new cruise missile known as Pulhwasal-3-31 and described the take a look at as a part of common efforts to develop its navy. The North described that missile as “strategic,” implying a doable intent to arm it with nuclear weapons.

North Korea’s cruise missiles complement the nation’s large lineup of ballistic missiles, together with intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to achieve the U.S. mainland.

Whereas North Korean cruise missile actions aren’t immediately banned below U.N. sanctions, specialists say these weapons probably pose a severe risk to South Korea and Japan. They’re designed fly like small airplanes and fly alongside landscapes the place they might be tougher to detect by radar.

Since 2021, North Korea has performed at the least 10 rounds of checks of what it described as long-range cruise missiles fired from each land and sea. The nation claims its weapons are nuclear-capable and their vary is as much as 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles), a distance that would come with U.S. navy bases in Japan.

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