Seoul, South Korea : North Korea said Friday it test-fired long-range cruise missiles off its eastern coast a day earlier, adding to a provocative streak in weapons demonstrations as its rivals step up military training.
The launches, which were later confirmed by South Korea’s military, were intended to verify the reliability of the missiles and the rapid-response capabilities of the unit that operates those weapons, North Korean state media said.
The launches took place as the U.S. and South Korea held a simulation in Washington aimed at sharpening their response to North Korean nuclear threats.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said the four missiles flew for nearly three hours after being launched from the northeastern coast, drew oval and figure-eight patterns above the sea, and showed they can hit targets 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) away.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the flight details announced by North Korea had discrepancies with the readings by U.S. and South Korean intelligence assets, but it didn’t elaborate. It said the allies were continuing to analyze the launches.
Lee Hyojung, spokesperson of Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, denounced North Korea for escalating its testing activity despite signs of deepening economic isolation and food insecurity.
North Korea first tested a long-range cruise missile system in September 2021 and has implied the missiles are being developed to be armed with nuclear warheads. (AP)