North Korea tests cruise missiles for third time in a week

North Korea continues its missile tests, firing several cruise missiles from both coasts in less than a week.

In the latest show of force, North Korea launched several cruise missiles from its western coast into the sea on Tuesday morning, according to South Korea’s military. This was the third time in less than a week that the North had tested cruise missiles, which can fly low and evade detection.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of South Korea said in a statement that the missiles were fired at around 7 a.m. local time (2200 GMT on Monday) from the North’s Hwanghae province. The statement did not specify the number or type of the missiles, but said that South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies were jointly analyzing the launch data.

The missile test came after North Korea had fired a salvo of cruise missiles from its eastern port of Sinpo into the waters off its east coast on Sunday. The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday that the Sunday launch was a successful test of a new type of submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) named “Pulhwasal-3-31”, which means “fire dragon” in Korean.

The report said that the North’s leader Kim Jong Un personally oversaw the test and praised the missile as a “strategic weapon” that could enhance the country’s nuclear deterrence. KCNA also said that the same type of missile was tested last week, implying that it was nuclear-capable.

South Korea’s JCS said last week that it assessed the firing of “Pulhwasal-3-31” as an attempt to improve the performance and range of existing missiles. It also said that it was closely monitoring the North’s military activities and maintaining a high level of readiness.

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