North Korea’s missile frenzy: fourth launch in a week

In a show of force, North Korea tested several cruise missiles on Friday. The launch was the latest in a series of weapons tests that have alarmed the international community.

On Friday, South Korea’s military reported that North Korea launched several cruise missiles from its west coast. This was the fourth launch of such missiles from both coasts in more than a week.

The launch occurred around 11 a.m. (0200 GMT), but no further details were given by the South’s military.

North Korea claimed that it had tested “strategic” cruise missiles since last week, suggesting that they could be equipped with nuclear warheads.

State media also announced that the country had tested its new submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) earlier this week. The land-launched and submarine-launched missiles had the same identification marks, and leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch.

The South’s military said that the North seemed to be testing the missiles to improve their performance.

The latest launch followed a statement by the North on Friday morning that Kim had visited a shipyard in the port city of Nampho on the west coast and emphasized the need for a powerful naval force in “war preparations”, as per state media.

Kim said that “strengthening naval force is the most important issue in pushing ahead with war preparations” during his visit to the dockyard, which is also known as Nampo and is a military shipbuilding base, according to KCNA.

Kim received information on the building of various warships under a new “huge plan” that the North Korean leadership had decided on, KCNA reported, without giving more details.

On Monday, KCNA said that Kim had checked the construction of a nuclear submarine and talked about issues related to the production of other kinds of new warships, but did not provide any details.

Kim had outlined a plan to develop and enhance the country’s military capabilities, including the building of nuclear submarines and underwater drones that can launch nuclear attacks, at a major ruling party meeting in 2021.

The North has tested a range of weapons in recent months, including ballistic missile systems that are under development and an underwater drone.

North Korea blamed the United States and South Korea for increasing tensions with large-scale military exercises, and said that it had no option but to prepare for a nuclear war.

The U.S. Special Operations Command said on Friday that it had finished training with South Korea’s special operations forces.

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