North Korea launched two cruise missiles on Wednesday, Seoul’s defense ministry revealed, ending a month-long pause in Pyongyang’s record series of weapons tests this year.
“Early this morning, we detected that North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the West Sea in the Oncheon region of South Pyongan province,” a ministry official told AFP. “U.S. and South Korean military officials are looking into detailed specifications such as flight distances.”
North Korea has not tested a cruise missile – which is not banned under United Nations sanctions – since January, Yonhap news agency reported. Pyongyang last conducted a weapons test on July 10, when it launched several ballistic missiles.
North Korea has carried out a series of sanctions-busting tests since January, including the first full-range launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017. Its seventh nuclear test.
Earlier this week, South Korean and US military troops began preliminary exercises ahead of the start of their annual joint Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise. The drills infuriate Pyongyang, which sees them as a rehearsal for an invasion.
South Korea says it will not go down the path of nuclear disarmament
South Korea’s president said today that his government has no plans for denuclearization following North Korea’s increased nuclear capabilities. Yoon Suk-yeol urged Pyongyang to resume talks and diplomacy aimed at exchanging the North Koreans’ denuclearization status for economic benefits.
Yoon’s office reaffirmed South Korea’s military readiness before South Korean National Security Director Kim Chung-han spoke to reporters at a press conference with other officials.
Yoon told reporters that South Korea does not want to force political change in North Korea and should return to talks to build sustainable peace.
Yoon’s proposal, which includes large-scale aid in food, medicine and health and the modernization of the energy sector and port infrastructure, is similar to earlier South Korean offers rejected by North Korea, including accelerating the development of nuclear weapons. Ballistic missiles are seen as the main guarantee of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s survival.
However, Yoon expressed hope for “meaningful dialogue” with North Korea over its plan and insisted that Seoul is ready to offer economic rewards at every stage of the denuclearization process if North Korea commits to a real “road map” to abandon its weapons program.