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North Korea accused of firing multiple short-range cruise missiles

South Korea said that the missiles were fired towards the sea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a politburo meeting on 11 April.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a politburo meeting on 11 April.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

NORTH KOREA FIRED several suspected cruise missiles towards the sea, South Korea’s military said.

The “multiple projectiles” fired from Munchon in the east of the country were believed to be “short-range cruise missiles”, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The test comes a day before the nuclear-armed country marks the 108th anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the current leader Kim Jong Un.

It also comes a day before South Korea holds parliamentary elections, and at a time when the world’s attention has been largely focussed on the coronavirus pandemic.

Pyongyang says it has so far escaped the Covid-19 crisis, which has claimed over 100,000 lives worldwide. 

The claim has been treated with scepticism so far. Earlier this month, the country called for stronger measures against the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic at a meeting presided by leader Kim Jong Un.

The country shut down its borders after the virus was first detected in neighbouring China in January, and imposed strict containment measures.

North Korea has repeatedly tested ballistic missiles in recent years, which climb high above the Earth, often into space, before being brought down towards their targets at high speed by the force of gravity.

The missiles reportedly travelled over the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, before coming down in the water. 

“South Korea and US intelligence authorities are closely analysing related issues,” South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said. 

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The North is subject to multiple UN Security Council sanctions over its banned weapons programmes.

It has carried out a series of weapons tests in recent months, often describing them as multiple launch rocket systems while others have called them ballistic missiles.

© – AFP 2020

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