North Korea Launches Underwater Cruise Missiles Drills

North Korea Launches Underwater Cruise Missiles Drills

Mar 12 (Bloomberg) –North Korea said it launched two strategic cruise missiles in the waters of the East Sea of Korea, a drill that comes as the US and South Korea prepare to open 10 days of joint military exercises.

The submarine “8.24 Yongung” launched the missiles off Kyongpho Bay, and the drill “confirmed the reliability of the weapon system,” North Korean state media KCNA reported on Monday.

A general view of a submarine as North Korea fired two missiles striking an underwater target, according to state media, at an undisclosed location in North Korea March 12, 2023 in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

South Korea confirmed the underwater launch and said its military had captured an unidentified missile. 

“The detailed specifications are being analyzed precisely by the South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities,” according to a statement from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The underwater missile drill was “timed to coincide with the large-scale U.S.-south Korea war exercises to be launched on March 13,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to KCNA. It accused the US of “heinous hostile acts” and of pushing an “anti-DPRK ‘human rights’ racket” at the United Nations.

North Korea last week fired a suspected short-range ballistic missile after the influential sister of the state’s leader Kim Jong Un threatened the US with severe consequences if it goes ahead with joint military drills with South Korea.

The launch adds to a barrage of rockets Pyongyang has shot off in recent weeks, including an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to deliver a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.

The US and South Korea are preparing to hold their Freedom Shield exercises from March 13-23, drills designed to bolster their defenses against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats. The drills are expected to be some of the largest the two have held in years. 

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