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N. Korea fires two cruise missiles towards West Sea

Posted August. 18, 2022 07:58,   

Updated August. 18, 2022 07:58


North Korea fired two cruise missiles on Wednesday, which marks the 100th day of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s inauguration. The missile launch came only two days after President Yoon expressed his willingness to compensate North Korea’s denuclearization in his congratulatory speech for the National Liberation Day. North Korean provocation is likely to begin in earnest as South Korean and the U.S. kicked off the preliminary joint drills from Tuesday.

A South Korean military official said on Wednesday that the military detected early in the morning that North Korea fired two cruise missiles from Onchon, South Pyongan Province into waters off the West Sea. North Korea resumed its missile launch in about two months and the fourth provocation as a missile launch since the inauguration of President Yoon Suk-yeol’s government excluding the traditional multiple rocket launcher. In other words, North Korea fired 16 missiles over four times after President Yoon Suk-yeol came into office. This is triple the number of missiles launched during former President Moon Jae-in’s first 100 days of terms which amounted five missiles over five times.

Unlike firing ballistic missiles, firing cruise missiles is not a breach of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution. Provided however, the North Korean cruise missiles fly below 2 kilometers of altitude making them hard to detect from radar and boast high accuracy as they can make circular flights. Furthermore, as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced in January during the 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party that they have developed state-of-the art nuclear weapons including medium and long-range cruise missiles, it could become a serious threat to South Korea -U.S. intercept network if miniaturized nuclear warheads could be loaded to cruise missiles. Since 2020, North Korea has conducted about 10 times of its cruise missiles test firing. In October last year, North Korea made public its two types of its missiles under development during Defense Science Development Exhibition and the military inspection.

The information authorities of South Korea and the U.S. consider there is a high possibility of North Korea to engage in additional missiles firing soon. Currently, a variety of missile launching preparations are detected in multiple areas of Pyongyang, Sunan, and Dongchangri for Short Range Ballistic Missile (SRBM), Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and Hypersonic missiles.

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com