North Korea announced on March 13, 2023, that it had fired two strategic cruise missiles the morning prior from a submarine in waters off its eastern coast. (KCNA/Yonhap)
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff reported Sunday that they had detected cruise missiles being launched by North Korea over the East Sea around 8 am that day.
This came four days after a previous announcement by the military leaders of another cruise missile launch by the North Korean military on Wednesday.
“At approximately 0800 hours on Jan. 28, we detected several unidentified cruise missiles over the waters near Sinpo in North Korea,” the Joint Chiefs said Sunday, adding that “South Korean and US intelligence authorities are currently conducting a close analysis.”
The military did not specify whether the North Korean missiles were launched from the sea, underwater, or on land. No official announcement was made by North Korea’s state-run media.
But the fact that the missile launch site was near Sinpo — which is home to a North Korean submarine base — means the possibility cannot be ruled out that the projectiles in question were submarine-launched cruise missiles, which North Korea has recently been developing.
On March 12 of last year, North Korea claimed that one of its submarines had test-launched strategic cruise missiles in Kyongpo Bay on the East Sea.
Cruise missiles, which use jet engines, are capable of going undetected by enemy radar as they fly at low altitudes like aircraft and conduct precision strikes on key targets such as command structures. In general, they move at relatively low velocities, below the speed of sound.
The UN Security Council has taken these characteristics of cruise missiles in targeting only ballistic missiles for sanctions intended to prevent North Korea’s development of nuclear capabilities.
By Shin Hyeong-cheol, staff reporter
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