N. Korea fires several cruise missiles, says SoKor military

January 28, 2024, 3:46 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

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

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the North's launch took place around 8 a.m. in waters off Shinpo Port.

However, it did not elaborate, citing ongoing analysis.

"While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance, our military has been closely coordinating with the United States to monitor additional signs of North Korea's provocations," the JCS said in a text message sent to reporters.

It was the North’s second cruise missile launch this year. 

The first, named Pulhwasal-3-31, was fired toward the Yellow Sea on Wednesday.

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.

Hwasal means an arrow in Korean, and Pulhwasal means a fire arrow.

Cruise missiles fly low and maneuver, making them better at evading missile defenses.

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.

However, 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. (Yonhap)