North Korea flies cruise missiles in figure-eight patterns amid US, allies military drills
North Korea on Thursday fired cruise missiles in a figure-eight pattern after the U.S. and allied South Korea carried out military drills in the region that infuriated Pyongyang.
North Korea launched four strategic “Hwasal-2” cruise missiles from Kim Chaek City that fell into the Sea of Japan, according to state-run media publication Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The cruise missiles traveled more than a 1,000 miles and drew oval and eight-figure patterns in the air before landing in the water, according to KCNA.
The missile launch came one day after the U.S., Japan and South Korea conducted joint naval drills near the Korean Peninsula. North Korea views those military drills as a threat and has repeatedly acted with hostility after past exercises.
The Foreign Ministry for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the formal name for North Korea, said the U.S. posed a “constant threat to the security environment in the Korean peninsula.”
“The U.S. should be mindful that if it persists in its hostile and provocative practices against the DPRK, despite the latter’s repeated protest and warning, it can be regarded as a declaration of war against the DPRK,” according to a Friday statement carried by KCNA.
North Korea also test-fired two short-range missiles on Monday and an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland on Saturday.
North Korea test-fired an unprecedented number of missiles last year, raising alarms in both South Korea and Japan.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared his country a nuclear power and ordered an “exponential increase” in the nation’s nuclear arsenal at the beginning of 2023.
North Korea first tested a long-range cruise missile system in 2021 and has implied that the system could be developed with nuclear warheads.
South Korean and U.S. officials also participated in a nuclear simulation exercise in Washington, D.C., this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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