SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – South Korea reports that North Korea launched “multiple” cruise missiles from its western coastline into the sea on Wednesday, January 24.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in Seoul announced that the missiles were launched by North Korea on Wednesday morning.
“Our military detected several cruise missiles launched by North Korea towards the Yellow Sea at around 7:00 am today [22:00 GMT on Tuesday],” the JCS said in a statement.
“The detailed specifications are being closely analyzed by South Korean and US intelligence authorities,” they added.
Despite facing stringent United Nations sanctions related to its nuclear weapons program, Pyongyang has persisted in conducting weapons tests this year. These include trials of a solid-fueled hypersonic ballistic missile and a purported nuclear-capable underwater attack drone.
While cruise missile tests are not prohibited under UN sanctions, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in Seoul stated that they are closely observing North Korea for any further activities. Cruise missiles, being jet-propelled and flying at lower altitudes than advanced ballistic missiles, could present a challenge for radar detection, raising concerns for the security of South Korea and Japan, according to analysts.
In recent months, tensions have escalated on the Korean Peninsula due to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s intensified weapons development efforts and provocative threats of nuclear conflict involving the United States and its regional allies.
Simultaneously, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. have been enhancing their joint military exercises, which Kim characterizes as preparations for invasion. They are also refining their deterrence strategies, focusing on nuclear-capable U.S. assets in the region.
The recent missile launches occurred while the South Korean Navy’s special warfare unit was engaged in training on the east coast near the North Korean border. The 10-day training, concluding on Thursday, aims to enhance operational preparedness in response to North Korea’s recent military actions, as stated by JCS.
According to NK News, an online publication tracking North Korea’s developments, satellite images captured on Tuesday revealed the absence of The Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification, commonly known as the Arch of Reunification.
This monument, featuring two women holding a symbol of a unified peninsula, was constructed over a significant road in Pyongyang in 2001. NK News reported that during a recent session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim referred to it as an “eyesore.”