North Korea on 8 June 2017 fired multiple cruise missiles into the waters between Korea and Japan.
The move came a day after South Korea’s new president announced that his government was suspending the deployment of the controversial US missile-defence system to conduct an environmental review.
The missiles that flew for about 200 km were reportedly launched from Wonsan, a city on North Korea’s east coast. With this launch, the total number of missile tests conducted by North Korea this year goes up to ten. The nuclear-armed stated has test-fired a missile almost every week since the past few weeks.
Speaking on the recent development, South Korea’s military stated that North Korea fired multiple unidentified projectiles, assumed to be surface-to-ship missiles, from the vicinity of Wonsan, Gangwon province.
The launches come less than a week after the United Nations Security Council passed new sanctions on the isolated state, which slammed UN sanctions as ‘mean’ and said that it would continue to pursue its nuclear and weapons programme without delay.
According to analysts, the fired cruise missiles are similar to Russia’s Kh-35, which were demonstrated during a military parade in Pyongyang in April 2017. The missiles are designed to sink enemy ships.
• The current launch just further highlights the concerns of Japan, South Korea and the US over North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and technological advances in building missile technology.
• The reclusive stated had warned earlier that it is working to develop a nuclear-tipped ICBM capable of reaching the US mainland.
• The US had earlier in May 2017 deployed its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD in South Korea to counter the missile threat from the North.
• Seoul has, however, suspended the deployment of the defence system after its presence raised environment concerns.
• While the two already installed launchers would remain, the four launchers that were yet to be deployed would be put on hold until a full environmental assessment is done.
• The deployment of the defence system also drew sharp criticism from China, the only ally of North Korea.