Militaries from South Korea and the United States said they were analyzing the launch for more details.

After the launch, South Korea’s national security adviser held a meeting to assess the security situation and review the military’s readiness, according to the president’s office.

The meeting agreed to closely monitor any related movements ahead of joint US-South Korean military exercises scheduled for early next week, the office added.

North Korea is not prohibited from firing cruise missiles under United Nations sanctions, and last did so in January.

Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are powered by jet engines and are closer to the ground, making them harder to detect. Most cruise missiles are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

The launch came ahead of a speech by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to mark his 100th anniversary in office, in which he reiterated his willingness to help North Korea if it agreed to stop developing nuclear weapons and begin the process of denuclearization.

Yun also mentioned this “bold initiative” to improve North Korea’s economy in exchange for denuclearization in separate remarks earlier this week. He first made the proposal during his inaugural address in May.

Building tension

North Korea has recently conducted a series of missile tests, with Wednesday’s launch being the 18th this year, according to CNN.

In comparison, the Hermit Kingdom only played four tests in 2020 and eight in 2021.

The latest missile launch came on June 5 with eight short-range ballistic missiles, to which South Korea and the United States responded by firing eight more missiles into waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.

Tensions between the two Koreas have risen this year, with US military and intelligence agencies warning that North Korea appears to be preparing for a nuclear test – its first in five years.
South Korea and the United States stepped up their cooperation in countering North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, announcing last month that the two countries would resume long-suspended military exercises this summer.

This is a developing story.

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