Seoul Says Investigating 2 Likely Cruise Missiles in 5th North Korean Launch This Month

By Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
January 25, 2022Updated: February 11, 2022

The North Korean regime fired two apparent cruise missiles on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, marking the fifth reported missile launch this month.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the missiles were launched into the east sea on Tuesday, but it has not yet been able to provide any specifics because the launch is still being examined.

Cruise missile launches by the North are not banned under U.N. sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

The missile launch comes just days after Pyongyang vowed to immediately develop “more powerful physical means” to overpower the “hostile moves of the United States,” according to North Korean state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

On Jan. 17, North Korea fired two “tactical guided missiles” from Pyongyang, which the regime boasted had precisely hit an island target in the East Sea of Korea.

Pyongyang claimed that two missile tests performed on Jan. 5 and Jan. 11 were “hypersonic” missiles, which prompted the United States to impose sanctions on six North Koreans involved in procuring goods for North Korea’s weapons programs from Russia and China.

The United States subsequently requested to the U.N. security council that five of those individuals be subjected to a U.N. travel ban and asset freeze, but represenatives from China and Russia blocked the proposal, claiming that additional time and proof were required to support it.

During a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party last week, the North Korean officials “unanimously admitted” that Pyongyang must be “more fully ready for a long-term confrontation with U.S. imperialism,” KCNA reported.

Kim Jong Un’s socialist regime assessed “the U.S. hostile policy and military threat have reached the line of danger that can no longer be overlooked,” the state media mouthpiece claimed.

It stated that the Politburo committee has therefore ordered a reconsideration of confidence-building measures and examining “resuming all actions which had been temporarily suspended.”

The U.S. ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, issued a joint statement on Jan. 20 on behalf of eight countries—the United States, Albania, Brazil, France, Ireland, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom–that urged the Security Council to be unified in condemning Pyongyang’s “unlawful behavior.”

They called on the council committee to support the U.N. sanctions against those who aid Pyongyang’s weapons programs, warning that failing to do so would be tantamount to giving Pyongyang “a blank check.”

Lee Sang-min, a military expert at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, said the missile volleys this month look to be aimed at building geopolitical tensions and to push the Biden administration and its “hostile policies” towards the North Korean leader’s demands.

“Cruise missiles are slower than ballistic missiles and so are regarded as less of a threat, but they hit targets with high precision, something North Korea would continue to develop,” Lee said.

Reuters contributed to this report.