Pyongyang says it fired cruise missiles, Seoul signals discrepancies

Seoul, Feb 24 (EFE).- Pyongyang said it had fired four strategic cruise missiles that flew some 2,000 kilometers in irregular trajectories, while Seoul’s military authorities on Friday signaled discrepancies in the two sides’ assessments.

The North Korean military fired “four Hwasal-2 strategic cruise missiles” from Kim Chaek city (350 kilometers northeast of Pyongyang) towards the Sea of Japan on Thursday, said an article published Friday by the state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

North Korea’s launch of cruise missiles does not violate sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council, unlike ballistic missiles.

The four missiles hit “preset targets” in the sea after traveling 2,000 kilometers over nearly three hours with “elliptical and figure-eight flight orbits,” KCNA said.

However, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) later released a statement saying that “there is a difference between what South Korea and the US reconnaissance and surveillance assets identified and what North Korea announced.”

KCNA added that “the drill reconfirmed the reliability of the weapon system and examined the rapid response posture of strategic cruise missile units that constitute one of major forces of the DPRK (North Korea) nuclear deterrent” and demonstrated “its deadly nuclear counterattack capability against the hostile forces.”

The North Korean announcement comes after South Korea and the United States this week carried out a theoretical simulation exercise at the Pentagon under the premise of a North Korean nuclear attack and also after Seoul, Tokyo and Washington carried out anti-missile defense drills with ships equipped with Aegis systems in the Sea of Japan.

During the Pentagon exercise, the sides assumed a “scenario for North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons that reflects the trend toward nuclear policy and advancement of nuclear capabilities, discussions focused on deterrence and countermeasures against North Korea’s use of nuclear weapons to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” the JCS said in a statement on Friday.

Just a few days ago, Pyongyang fired three missiles, one of them intercontinental, and promised an unprecedented response to more drills that Seoul and Washington plan to carry out next month, which looks to further increase the tension on the peninsula after last year, in which the regime fired a record number of missiles. EFE


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