SEOUL: North Korea fired several cruise missiles from its east coast on Sunday, the South Korean military said, days after Pyongyang test-fired new strategic cruise missiles from the west coast.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the North’s launch took place around 8 waters off Shinpo Port, but did not elaborate, citing an ongoing analysis.

“While strengthening our monitoring and vigilance, our military has been closely coordinating with the United States to monitor additional signs of North Korea’s provocations,“ Yonhap news agency quoted the JCS as saying in a text message sent to reporters.

It marks the North’s second cruise missile launch this year after it test-fired strategic cruise missiles, named Pulhwasal-3-31, towards the Yellow Sea on Wednesday.

Experts said the Pulhwasal-3-31 appears to be a nuclear-capable cruise missile, considering that the number in its name is identical to that of the Hwasan-31, a tactical nuclear warhead that North Korea first unveiled in March 2023.

North Korea has dialed up tensions on the Korean Peninsula with weapons tests and harsh rhetoric in an election year for South Korea and the US.

North launched a solid-fuel hypersonic missile into the East Sea on Jan 14 in its first missile firing this year.

Pyongyang also claimed it had tested an underwater nuclear attack drone in protest of the latest joint military drills among South Korea, the US and Japan earlier this month. -Bernama

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