North Korea fires several cruise missiles off eastern coast, Seoul says

People in Seoul watch coverage of the latest launch. Credit: AP

South Korea’s military claimed on Sunday morning that North Korea fired several cruise missiles that flew over waters near a major military shipyard on the country’s eastern coast.

It's the latest in a number of weapons tests that are worsening tensions with the United States, South Korea and Japan.

The launches followed a separate round of North Korean cruise missile tests last week and a test-firing of the country’s first solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile earlier in January.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said they detected the missiles over waters near the North Korean port of Sinpo, where the North has a major shipyard building key naval vessels, including missile-firing submarines.

The North Korean leader has ordered a number of missile tests over recent weeks Credit: AP

The South’s military didn’t immediately provide specific launch details, including the number of missiles fired, how far they flew and whether they were launched from land or naval assets.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased in recent months as North Korean President Kim Jong Un continues to accelerate his weapons development and issue provocative threats of nuclear conflict with the U.S. and its Asian allies.

The U.S., South Korea and Japan in response have been expanding their combined military exercises, which Kim portrays as invasion rehearsals, and sharpening their deterrence strategies built around nuclear-capable U.S. assets.

Since 2021, North Korea has conducted at least 10 rounds of tests of what it described as long-range cruise missiles fired from both land and sea. The country claims its weapons are nuclear-capable and their range is up to 1,242 miles, a distance that would include U.S. military bases in Japan.

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