North Korea fires cruise missiles again

North Korea fires cruise missiles again

North Korea has stepped up its testing of weapons banned by the United Nations in recent months. In early January, it launched a hypersonic missile and fired shots near the maritime border with South Korea.

North Korea fired several cruise missiles on Sunday amid growing tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang, the South Korean military said. This week, Pyongyang launched cruise missiles toward the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula, claiming they were a new generation of strategic cruise missiles.

“Our army detected several unidentified cruise missiles fired near the waters (near the city) of Sinpo in North Korea at 8 a.m.,” the General Staff of the South Korean Armed Forces said in a statement on Sunday (midnight French time). . He said the launch would be analyzed by South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies, adding “to closely monitor North Korea's other movements and activities.”

Tests of cruise missiles flying in the atmosphere are not covered by UN sanctions against North Korea. And this is in contrast to ballistic missiles, whose trajectory essentially takes place in space.

Waiver of Agreement

On Thursday, the day after the launch of cruise missiles, the number of which Pyongyang did not specify, the official KCNA news agency said that this test was part of “a process of constant updating of the weapon system and (a) regular and mandatory activity.”

“The test firing had no impact on the security of neighboring countries and has nothing to do with the regional situation,” she assured.

Tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul have worsened significantly in recent months. The two warring countries renounced agreements concluded in 2018 to prevent armed incidents, increased military resources on the border and conducted live artillery exercises near each other's territory.

“main enemy”

North Korea's leader said in January that the South was his country's “main enemy.” He dissolved government agencies dedicated to reunification and contacts with the South and threatened to declare war if his neighbor encroached on his territory “by even 0.001 mm.” In late December, Kim Jong Un ordered military preparations to be accelerated for a “war” that could “start at any time.” He denounced a “prolonged and uncontrollable crisis situation” that he said was triggered by Seoul and Washington with their joint military exercises in the region.

The tone also rose even higher in the south, where conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol warned that Seoul would respond “many times stronger” in the event of a provocation, highlighting his army's “overwhelming responsiveness.” Seoul and Washington have repeatedly warned that any attack by Pyongyang would inevitably lead to the destruction of its regime.

North Korea has stepped up its testing of weapons banned by the United Nations in recent months. In early January, it fired a solid-propellant hypersonic missile and fired live artillery near the maritime border with the South, prompting protective measures to be ordered on several South Korean islands near the North Korean coast.

Seoul responded with counter-exercises in the same region, on the west coast of the peninsula. North Korea also managed to put a spy satellite into orbit in late 2023 after receiving technical assistance from Russia in exchange for arms supplies for the war in Ukraine, according to Seoul.