Pyongyang tests missiles, engages in military exercises near southern border

Pyongyang tests missiles, conducts military exercises near border; re sud


Missile tests, fighter jets: Pyongyang has demonstrated military force in recent hours near the border with South Korea, claiming to respond to “provocations” from Seoul. 

Two long-range strategic cruise missiles were fired by North Korea on Wednesday, a test overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to the agency Yonhap.

These two cruise missiles, which fly at lower altitude than ballistic missiles and make them harder to detect, flew for 2,000 km over the sea before reaching their designated target, according to the news agency. official North Korean KCNA.

Mr. Kim expressed “great satisfaction” with the readiness of the country's nuclear combat forces, according to the same source.

On Thursday, a ballistic missile was also tested by firing towards the sea, according to the same source.

Pyongyang has described its recent missile tests as nuclear tactical exercises, simulating strikes on airports and military installations in South Korea.

Shortly before the last missile was fired on Thursday, a dozen planes from North Korean fighters also flew over an area near the border with South Korea, which in turn sent aircraft in response.

According to the South Korean general staff, quoted by the Yonhap agency, ten fighter jets were detected flying 25 kilometers north of the border between the two states between 11:30 p.m. Thursday and 12:20 a.m. Friday local time. The North Korean planes crossed a “line of reconnaissance”, triggering an automatic response from the South, according to the same source.

Seoul has launched fighter jets, including F- 35A, according to the general staff, Yonhap added.

This latest incident, the second in a week involving fighter jets, comes amid rising military tensions on the peninsula.

Shooting for ten hours

On Friday (local time), Pyongyang argued that its latest actions were a response to “provocative” actions by the South.

A North Korean military spokesman said that South Korea's military had carried out “artillery fire for about ten hours near the forward defense area of ​​the Korean People's Army Fifth Corps on Thursday”, according to a statement carried by KCNA. 

The Korean People's Army “took strong military countermeasures” in response to this “provocative action”, according to the statement.

Testing of cruise missiles is not banned by the UN unlike the ballistic missile launches that South Korea and Japan usually report. Neither country reported on Wednesday's test. 

Kim Jong Un has acquired tactical nuclear weapons — smaller, lighter weapons designed for use on the battlefield — a top priority at a key Party congress in January 2021. 

He promised this year to develop North Korea's nuclear forces as quickly as possible.

Seoul and Washington have been warning for months of the risk of Pyongyang carrying out a nuclear test, which would be the seventh.

With talks long stalled and the conflict in Ukraine preventing the adoption by the United Nations of new sanctions, Mr. Kim has intensified efforts to develop and test his prohibited nuclear arsenal.