North Korea launches multiple cruise missiles in the direction of the Yellow Sea, according to the Seoul Military

On Wednesday, North Korea launched several cruise missiles towards the Yellow Sea, as reported by Seoul’s military. This action is part of a series of provocative moves by the nuclear-armed state, which has intensified weapons testing in the new year, including trials of what it referred to as an “underwater nuclear weapon system” and a solid-fueled hypersonic ballistic missile.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff stated, “Our military detected several cruise missiles launched by North Korea towards the Yellow Sea at around 7:00 am today.” The detailed specifications of the missiles are currently under close analysis by South Korean and US intelligence authorities.

Unlike ballistic missiles, the testing of cruise missiles is not prohibited under current UN sanctions against Pyongyang. Cruise missiles, being jet-propelled and flying at lower altitudes, are more challenging to detect and intercept than their ballistic counterparts.

This recent missile launch coincides with South Korea conducting a 10-day special forces infiltration drill off its east coast, in response to “serious security situations” with North Korea, continuing until Thursday, according to the South’s navy.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un designated South Korea as his country’s “principal enemy,” dismantled agencies focused on reunification efforts, and issued threats of war over even minor territorial infringement.

Following the missile launch, South Korea’s defense minister asserted that North Korea would face the end of its regime if it initiated war. Shin Won-sik stated, “If the Kim Jong Un regime makes the worst choice to start a war, you must become the invisible force that protects South Korea and… eliminate the enemy’s leadership in the shortest possible time and end their regime.”

Tensions between the two Koreas have escalated in recent months, leading to the abandonment of key tension-reducing agreements, increased border security measures, and live-fire drills along the border. Kim also declared that North Korea would not recognize the de facto maritime border, the Northern Limit Line, and called for constitutional changes allowing the North to “occupy” Seoul in the event of war, as reported by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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