North Korea has launched several cruise missiles towards the Yellow Sea on Wednesday, the South Korean military reported. The news comes amid the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula on the backdrop of a wave of weapons testing by Pyongyang and joint US and South Korean war games in the region.
Seoul will be monitoring for any additional signs of launches, “closely coordinating with the United States,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated on Wednesday, describing the tests as “provocations.”
The new launch comes less than two weeks after North Korea tested a solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile with a hypersonic warhead. Pyongyang later tested an “underwater nuclear weapon system,” the country’s state media reported last week, calling the move a response to the navy drills carried out by South Korea, US and Japan, which included the US aircraft carrier ‘USS Carl Vinson’.
Seoul and Washington conducted a series of live-fire exercises near the border with North Korea last year despite repeated warnings from Pyongyang that it sees the war games as a rehearsal for an invasion. The US and its allies, however, say that the drills are defensive in nature and accuse North Korea of violating international restrictions on its missile program.
The US and South Korea have recently resumed large-scale joint exercises that were halted in 2017 as part of de-escalation efforts. Seoul further announced that the 2018 agreement to suspend military exercises along the border was null and void following Pyongyang’s artillery tests.
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