North Korea launched its fourth salvo of cruise missiles in around two weeks, just hours after leader Kim Jong Un called for increased “war preparations” during a visit to a navy facility.
According to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, several cruise missiles were shot into waters off North Korea’s west coast on Friday at around 11 a.m. It stated that the test was being examined by South Korean and American intelligence services.
The DPRK had reportedly tested its new submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) earlier this week. The launch, which employed missiles with the same identifying marks as the missiles fired from land, was overseen by Kim himself.
Ballistic missiles have an arching flight path, reach supersonic speeds, and lose power as they descend. Cruise missiles may instead fly at low altitudes and generally cruise at subsonic speed – and, as they may move about, it is more difficult to find and stop them.
Resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council forbid North Korea from conducting tests on the former, but they do not apply to the latter.
On Friday, the North Korean leader paid a visit to a shipyard in the west coast port city of Nampho and emphasized the significance of a powerful naval force in “war preparations.” Kim was quoted by KCNA as stating, “Building up the naval force is the most important issue in pushing ahead with war preparations.”
In recent months, Kim has advocated for bolstering his navy, which is mostly composed of submarines and small boats for coastal defense. The North has recently tested a variety of weaponry, including underwater drones and ballistic missile systems that are still under development.