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[Newsmaker] N.Korea appears to fire two cruise missiles from inland area: S.Korean military

Passersby watch a TV report of North Korea’s missile launch at Seoul Station. (File Photo -Yonhap)
Passersby watch a TV report of North Korea’s missile launch at Seoul Station. (File Photo -Yonhap)
North Korea fired two suspected cruise missiles from an inland area Tuesday morning, its fifth weapons test this year.

“North Korea is presumed to launch two cruise missiles this morning,” a South Korean military official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

“The missiles are estimated to have traveled mostly inland although further analysis is needed,” the military official said, adding the missiles were not fired toward the East Sea.

The military official said the two cruise missiles were fired from an inland area. But the official declined to confirm the precise time and place of the launch and the flight direction, citing confidentiality reasons.

“Our military has been keeping close tabs on the related movement and firmly maintaining military readiness,” the official said, elucidating that Seoul detected the signs of a launch preparation.

The official explained that it was generally difficult to track the entire flight path if cruise missiles are launched ”from a deep area” and travel at a low altitude. But the South Korean military is capable of detecting and intercepting cruise missiles fired southward regardless of speed, according to the official.

North Korea previously fired “new-type long-range cruise missiles,” which were similar to the US Tomahawk in appearance, on Sep. 11 and 12. Seoul did not confirm if Pyongyang fired the identical type of cruise missiles for around four months.

Pyongyang fired six ballistic missiles in four discrete launches, which were conducted between Jan. 5 to Jan. 17, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. The latest cruise missile launches do not breach UNSC resolutions.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff also does not immediately share information on cruise missile launches by North Korea.

By Ji Da-gyum (dagyumji@heraldcorp.com)
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