North Korea fires cruise missiles off its east coast

The move comes after leader Kim Jong Un threatened to destroy the South.
By Mike Firn for RFA
Bangkok, Thailand
North Korea fires cruise missiles off its east coast View of what appears to be a strategic cruise missile drill carried out by North Korea on January 30, 2024, at an undisclosed location in North Korea in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency on January 31, 2024.
KCNA via Reuters

North Korea fired several cruise missiles into the sea Wednesday, Yonhap News reported, citing the South Korean military. It's the fifth cruise missile launch this year, as Pyongyang ratchets up the military pressure on Seoul in response to January’s military exercises between South Korea, the United States and Japan.

The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said an unspecified number of missiles were fired at around 9 a.m. local time northeast of Wonsan on North Korea’s east coast. 

"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 message to reporters.

Along with cruise missile launches, the North has fired artillery near the sea border between the two Koreas and tested a nuclear-capable submarine drone this year.

A TV screen shows a file image of North Korea's missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. (AP)

Last month, Pyongyang abolished agencies handling inter-Korean affairs, such as the National Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, which is in charge of national economic cooperation.

And earlier this month, it said it was cutting all economic ties with Seoul, abolishing laws on inter-Korean economic cooperation, including regulations on the special zone for international tours of Mount Kumgang and those for enforcing all other agreements with the South.

A total of 258 agreements have been signed between the two Koreas, and Seoul sees 112 of them, including 28 joint press releases, as economic agreements, according to its unification ministry. 

Last Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un spoke at a military parade, threatening to “strike and destroy the South,” according to the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said this month the North was likely to carry out multiple “provocations” ahead of his country’s April elections.

Edited by Elaine Chan.


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