South Korea and the US recently began a four-day initial joint exercise in preparation for the long-delayed live field training known as the ‘Ulchi Freedom Shield’. The day after the exercise, North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the sea. Al-Jazeera news.
The ‘Ulchi Freedom Shield’ exercise will be held from August 22 to September 1.
According to South Korean officials, Pyongyang is angered by the drills. North Korea sees the exercise as preparation for an attack. This is Pyongyang’s latest weapons test since last month.
“Early this morning, we detected that North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the West Sea from Anchon in South Pyongan Province,” a military official told Yonhap news agency on Wednesday on condition of anonymity.
The last weapons test took place on July 10, and North Korea last tested a cruise missile in January.
An official at the country’s defense ministry told news agency AFP that US and South Korean military authorities were analyzing detailed specifications such as the aircraft’s distance.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol made no mention of the missile during a news conference in Seoul on Wednesday. Instead, he insisted on providing North Korea with phased economic aid to ensure that the country stops developing nuclear weapons and begins denuclearization.
He said any dialogue between leaders of the South and the North or discussions between officials at the working level should not be a political show. But they must contribute to the establishment of real peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
Pyongyang has shown an unprecedented spate of weapons tests this year, including the banned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), despite tough international sanctions on its weapons program.
The sanctions do not extend to cruise missiles, but there is speculation that Pyongyang is preparing to test a nuclear weapon for the first time since 2017.
Late last month, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un said the country was “ready to consolidate” its nuclear deterrent.