George Wright, BBC News, reports that North Korea has launched several cruise missiles into waters off its eastern coast, according to South Korea’s military. The nuclear-armed nation has been testing missiles frequently in recent months, escalating regional tensions. The recent launch occurred near the port of Sinpo, but the number and type of missiles remain unknown.
Earlier this week, North Korea reportedly tested a new strategic cruise missile named Pulhwasal-3-31, as per South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) reported the latest launch, which happened at 08:00 (23:00 GMT Saturday), stating that they are closely coordinating with the United States to monitor further provocations from North Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been notably aggressive in his policies and rhetoric lately, terminating several peace-keeping agreements and escalating military activities. Since January, Pyongyang has claimed to have tested a new solid-fuelled missile and underwater attack drones capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This comes after two years of nearly monthly missile launches and weapons development, in clear violation of UN sanctions.
Kim Jong Un recently declared the long-standing goal of reunification with South Korea to be over, labeling the South as the “principal enemy”. This has sparked fears that North Korea may be gearing up for war. In response, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol warned his cabinet that any provocation from the North would be met with a “multiple times stronger” retaliation, highlighting the South Korean military’s “overwhelming response capabilities”.