August 18, 2022 09:32
North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the West Sea on Wednesday morning.
The launch was apparently aimed at testing new long-range cruise missiles to check their capability, but it also coincided with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s celebration of his 100th day in office and the start of joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises.
"The North fired two cruise missiles into the West Sea from Onchon, South Pyongan Province in the early morning," a military spokesman here said. It was the North's first missile launch since June and the fourth missile since Yoon took office.
Both South Korean and U.S. military authorities are analyzing specifics of the missiles, which are apparently new and have a range of over 1,500 km.
The launch of cruise missiles does not violate UN Security Council resolutions, but they could be a serious threat to South Korea's security because they are hard to detect or intercept as they normally fly at low altitude.
The launch could be a protest against South Korea-U.S. military training. The two countries began preliminary drills Tuesday ahead of a massive combined exercise dubbed Ulchi Freedom Shield that kicks off next week for the first time in five years.
But it was also a resounding snub to Yoon, who in a speech marking Liberation Day two days earlier had proposed large-scale economic aid to the North if it abandons its nuclear program.
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