By The Associated Press on January 23, 2024.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea’s military says North Korea fired several cruise missiles into waters off its western coast, adding to a provocative run of weapons demonstrations in the face of deepening nuclear tensions with the United States, South Korea and Japan.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that the U.S. and South Korean militaries were analyzing the launches. It did not immediately confirm the exact number of missiles fired or their specific flight details.
The launches marked North Korea’s second known launch event of the year, following a Jan. 14 flight test-firing of the country’s first solid-fuel intermediate range ballistic missile, which reflected its efforts to advance its lineup of weapons targeting U.S. military bases in Japan and Guam.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased in recent months as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to accelerate his weapons development and issue provocative threats of nuclear conflict with the United States and its Asian allies. The United States, South Korea and Japan in response have been expanding their combined military exercises, which Kim portrays as invasion rehearsals, and sharpening their deterrence strategies built around nuclear-capable U.S. assets.
In the latest tit-for-tat, North Korea said last week conducted a test of a purported nuclear-capable underwater attack drone in response to a combined naval exercise by the United States, South Korea and Japan, as it continued to blame its rivals for tensions in the region.