North Korea fires cruise missiles off west coast, Seoul says
North Korea fires cruise missiles off west coast, Seoul says
North Korea fires cruise missiles off west coast, Seoul says
by DZRH News24 January 2024
FILE PHOTO: The North Korean flag flutters at the North Korea consular office in Dandong, Liaoning province, China April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korea fired multiple cruise missiles towards the sea off its west coast on Wednesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, in the latest sign of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The missiles were fired at around 7 a.m. (2200 GMT on Tuesday) and the launches were being analysed by South Korean and U.S. intelligence, the JCS said in a statement.

It did not specify how many missiles were fired but said further activities by the nuclear-armed North were being monitored.

While U.N. Security Council sanctions targeting the North's weapons development do not bar testing of conventionally armed cruise missiles, South Korea's defence minister Shin Won-sik condemned the launches as a serious threat to his country.


During a visit to the 17th Fighter Wing, an F-35 stealth fighter unit, Shin also warned that the North Korean leader's regime would face its demise if it started a war.

"If Kim Jong Un makes the worst choice and starts a war, you as an invisible force that protects South Korea should become the vanguard in removing the leadership of the enemy as soon as possible," Shin said.

The latest firing of missiles by Pyongyang comes as the South Korean Navy's special warfare unit was taking part in training along the east coast in Gangwon Province bordering the North for 10 days.

The training was aimed at strengthening operational readiness following North Korea's recent artillery firing near a disputed maritime border and weapons tests, the JCS said.


Pyongyang said it tested a solid-fuel hypersonic missile with intermediate-range earlier this month in a move that was condemned by the United States, South Korea and Japan.

The North's state media also said last week the country conducted a test of its nuclear-capable underwater attack drones, in a protest against joint military drills by South Korea, the United States and Japan.

The isolated North has also demolished a major monument in its capital that symbolized the goal of reconciliation with South Korea on the orders of leader Kim, who last week called the rival a "primary foe" and said unification was no longer possible.

Satellite imagery of Pyongyang on Tuesday showed that the monument, an arch symbolizing hopes for Korean reunification which was completed after a landmark inter-Korea summit in 2000, was no longer there, according to a report by NK News, an online outlet that monitors North Korea.


Reuters could not independently confirm that the monument, known informally as the Arch of Reunification, had been demolished.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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