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South Korea: North Korea fired several cruise missiles, adding to weapons tests - 215 Views

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South Korea: North Korea fired several cruise missiles, adding to weapons tests

North Korea’s recent missile activities have heightened tensions in the region, with the country firing several cruise missiles that traversed waters near a significant military shipyard on South Korea’s eastern coast. This marks a continuation of North Korea’s weapons testing streak, exacerbating tensions with the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

The latest launches follow a series of North Korean cruise missile tests last week and a test-firing of the country’s first solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile on January 14. These tests reflect North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to bolster his weapons arsenal, specifically targeting missile defenses in South Korea and Japan, as well as U.S. assets in the Pacific, including Guam.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff reported detecting the missiles over waters near North Korea’s Sinpo port, where a major shipyard is located, constructing crucial naval vessels, including missile-firing submarines. Specific launch details, such as the number of missiles, distance covered, and launch platforms, were not immediately provided by South Korea’s military.

The Korean Peninsula has experienced escalating tensions as Kim accelerates weapons development and issues provocative threats of nuclear conflict with the U.S. and its Asian allies. In response, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan have expanded joint military exercises and strengthened deterrence strategies, incorporating nuclear-capable U.S. assets.

North Korea has identified its recent launches as involving a new cruise missile named Pulhwasal-3-31, categorizing it as “strategic,” suggesting potential nuclear armament. While not directly prohibited by U.N. sanctions, experts highlight the serious threat posed by North Korean cruise missiles to South Korea and Japan, given their design to fly like small airplanes along terrains that could evade radar detection.

Since 2021, North Korea has conducted at least 10 rounds of long-range cruise missile tests from both land and sea, asserting nuclear capability with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles), encompassing U.S. military bases in Japan.

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