South Korea says North Korea fired two cruise missiles

Military officials in South Korea and the United States said they were analyzing the launch for further details.

After the launch, South Korea’s national security advisers met to assess the security situation and review the military’s preparedness, the presidential office said.

The meeting participants agreed to closely monitor any related moves ahead of planned US-South Korea joint military drills early next week, the office added.

North Korea is not prohibited from firing cruise missiles under United Nations sanctions and last did so in January.

Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines and stay close to the ground, making them difficult to detect. Most cruise missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

The launch came before a speech by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to mark his 100th day, during which he reiterated his willingness to provide North Korea with assistance — if it agreed to end its development of nuclear weapons and begin the process of denuclearization.

In separate statements earlier this week, Yoon referred to this “bold initiative” to improve North Korea’s economy in lieu of denuclearization. He first extended the proposal in his inaugural address in May.

Building tension

North Korea has had a recent flurry of missile tests, with Wednesday’s launch being the 18th this year, according to CNN’s count.

In comparison, the Hermit Kingdom conducted only four Tests in 2020 and eight in 2021.

The last missile launch was on June 5, with eight short-range ballistic missiles — South Korea and the US responding by firing eight missiles into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.

Tensions have been building between the two Koreas this year, with US military and intelligence agencies warning that North Korea appears to be preparing for a nuclear test – its first in five years.
South Korea and the US have stepped up their cooperation to counter North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, with the two countries last month announcing the resumption of long-suspended live field training this summer.

This is a developing story.

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