North Korea fires cruise missiles into Sea of ​​Japan Seoul

North Korea fires cruise missiles into Sea of ​​Japan, Seoul says

Seoul | According to the South Korean military, North Korea fired cruise missiles into the Sea of ​​Japan again on Wednesday, following increasingly aggressive rhetoric from leader Kim Jong Un.

“Our military detected several unidentified cruise missiles in the waters northeast of Wonsan at around 9 a.m. (0000 GMT) today, and South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies are conducting detailed analysis,” the state said. -South Korean Joint Major (JCS) in a statement.

The JCS added that it is “closely monitoring any further signs or activities by North Korea.”

Since the beginning of the year, nuclear-armed North Korea has declared South Korea its “main enemy,” shutting down the authorities responsible for reunification and threatening war if any violations occur.

Pyongyang has also stepped up testing of military equipment, including tests of a so-called “undersea nuclear weapons system” and a solid-fuel hypersonic ballistic missile.

On Monday, the North said it had tested a new control system for multiple rocket launchers that it believes could significantly boost its defense capabilities.

Analysts say the North Korean military has fired a number of cruise missiles this year, a type of weapon the North could supply to Russia for use in the Ukraine conflict.

Pyongyang and Moscow have strengthened their ties and in September leader Kim Jong Un made a rare trip to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin.

South Korea and the United States allege that the North is sending weapons to Russia despite U.N. sanctions, possibly in exchange for technical assistance with its spy satellite program.

Tests of cruise missiles that fly in the atmosphere are not subject to the sanctions imposed by the UN against North Korea, unlike ballistic missiles whose trajectory is mainly in space.

“North Korea is believed to have exported large quantities of multiple rocket launchers to Russia last year,” Ahn Chan-il, a defector-turned-researcher who heads the World Institute of Defense, told AFP. Studies on North Korea.

He said it was possible that some of these weapons had quality problems and that recent testing could be “steps toward resolving the problem.”

“End” South Korea.

The North Korean leader vowed that Pyongyang would not hesitate to “destroy” South Korea in the event of an attack, the state agency reported on Friday, at a time when relations between the two countries have reached their lowest point.

In January, North Korea fired about 200 artillery shells near two South Korean border islands, prompting a fire drill by the South and evacuation orders for residents.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has promised a strong response if Pyongyang is attacked and urged his military to “act first and report later” if provoked.

Yoon has strengthened defense cooperation with the United States and Japan since taking office in 2022, including through expanded joint exercises to counter growing threats from Pyongyang.

With the U.S. presidential election approaching in November, the North may step up its provocations to exploit political uncertainty in the United States, Cheong Seong-chang, a researcher at the Sejong Institute, wrote in a report.

North Korea could “carry out attacks on the (South Korean) islands of Baengnyeong, Daecheong and Socheong based on its confidence in the further development of its nuclear and missile capabilities,” he said. These three islands in the Yellow Sea are located very close to the North Korean coast.

Pyongyang has also moved closer to Moscow in areas other than defense. A group of Russian tourists, the first known group of foreigners to visit North Korea since border closures related to the Covid-19 pandemic, arrived in the North on Friday for a four-day visit.

Last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who also visited Pyongyang, said North Korea should be recommended as a tourist destination for Russians for whom travel to Europe and North America has become more difficult since the war in Ukraine.