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South Korea says North has fired cruise missiles

South Korea's military says it has detected North Korea firing multiple cruise missiles into waters off its northeastern coast in its fifth test since January.



North Korea has fired multiple cruise missiles into the sea in its fifth test of such weapons since January, South Korea's military says, extending a streak in weapons demonstrations that's elevating tensions in the region.


South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean and US militaries were analysing the launches that were detected on Wednesday in waters northeast of the eastern coastal city of Wonsan.


The South Korean military didn't immediately provide the exact numbers of missiles fired or how far they flew.


It wasn't immediately clear either whether the missiles were fired from land or from sea assets.


"Our military has increased surveillance and vigilance and is working closely with our US partners and is closely monitoring signs for further activity from North Korea," the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.


Experts say North Korea is ramping up pressure on its rivals in an election year in South Korea and the United States with a long-term focus of forcing Washington to accept the idea of the North as a nuclear power and extract security and economic concessions from a position of strength.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has also been issuing belligerent statements toward South Korea, including a declaration that he would abandon the North's long-term objective of reconciliation with its war-divided rival and threatening to annihilate the South with nukes if provoked.


There is concern in the South that Kim may up the ante with a direct military provocation, possibly around the disputed western sea boundary between the Koreas that has been the site of deadly naval skirmishes in past years.


The latest launches were North Korea's sixth missile-launch event this year, including a Januar 14 test of the country's first solid-fuel intermediate range missile, which demonstrated its efforts to advance its weaponry targeting remote US targets in the Pacific, including the military hub of Guam.


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