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North Korea fires several cruise missiles off east coast

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North Korea fires several cruise missiles off east coast

Seoul, Jan 28

 Days after Pyongyang test-fired new strategic cruise missiles from the west coast, North Korea has fired several cruise missiles from its east coast on Sunday, the South Korean military said.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the North’s launch took place around 8 a.m. in waters off Shinpo Port, but did not elaborate, citing an ongoing analysis, Yonhap news agency reported.

“While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance, our military has been closely coordinating with the US to monitor additional signs of North Korea’s provocations,” the JCS said in a text message to reporters.

Experts said the Pulhwasal-3-31 appears to be a nuclear-capable cruise missile, considering that the number in its name is identical to that of the Hwasan-31, a tactical nuclear warhead that North Korea first unveiled in March 2023.

The North first test-fired the Hawsal-1 cruise missile in September 2021 and launched several Hwasal-1 and -2 cruise missiles presumed to be capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons last year.

The launch of a cruise missile is not a direct violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions banning the North’s use of ballistic missile technology. But it could pose a serious threat to South Korea’s security as nuclear warheads can be mounted on such missiles.

North Korea has dialed up tensions on the Korean Peninsula with weapons tests and harsh rhetoric in an election year for South Korea and the United States.

North launched a solid-fuel hypersonic missile into the East Sea on Jan. 14 in its first missile firing this year.

Pyongyang also claimed it had tested an underwater nuclear attack drone in protest of the latest joint military drills among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan earlier this month.

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