Launch is first of its kind since Sep 2023, when Pyongyang fired 2 long-range strategic cruise missiles toward same area

This picture taken on January 14, 2024, shows the test-firing of an intermediate-range solid-fuel ballistic missile at an unconfirmed location in North Korea. — KCNA

South Korean media reported Wednesday that North Korea fired multiple cruise missiles toward the Yellow Sea, days after conducting two separate weapons testing.  

According to the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the launches took place at around 7am, without giving further details, Yonhap reported.

"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 statement quoted by Yonhap.

The launch is the first of its kind since September 2023, when Pyongyang fired two long-range strategic cruise missiles with mock nuclear warheads toward the same area.

The multiple launches come days after Kim Jong-un's forces fired a solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile carrying a hypersonic warhead into the East Sea, marking the first of this year.

North Korean media KCNA reported last week that Pyongyang had tested an “underwater nuclear weapon system” in response to joint naval exercises by the US, South Korea, and Japan.

The drills were "seriously threatening the security" of the North, so in response, Pyongyang conducted an important test of its underwater nuclear weapon system Haeil-5-23 under development in the East Sea of Korea," the KCNA reported.

Early last year, Pyongyang carried out multiple tests of a purported underwater nuclear attack drone claiming that it could unleash a radioactive tsunami.

Recent months have seen a sharp deterioration in long-tense ties between the two Koreas, with both sides jettisoning key tension-reducing agreements, ramping up frontier security, and conducting live-fire drills along the border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week declared the South his country's principal enemy, jettisoned agencies dedicated to reunification and outreach and threatened war over even 0.001 mm of territorial infringement.

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