North Korea says it test-fired 4 long-range missiles as U.S. and South Korea held drill

A woman watches a TV screen showing an image of an earlier North Korean missile launch during a news program at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Kim Jae-Hwan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

North Korea's state media said Friday its military conducted a "strategic cruise missile" drill off its eastern coast the previous day.

Details: KCNA claims that the North Korean military fired four "Hwasal-2" long-range missiles in the North Hamgyong Province. Seoul officials said there had been a launch but added without further elaboration that South Korean and U.S. intelligence detected differing flight details to Pyongyang's claims, per AP.

  • "The drill clearly demonstrated once again the war posture of the [North Korean] nuclear combat force bolstering up in every way its deadly nuclear counterattack capability against the hostile forces," KCNA said.

Of note: The latest missile launch occurred on the same day as the U.S. and South Korean militaries held a simulated "table-top" exercise in Washington, D.C.

  • The Pentagon said Thursday's drill was due to threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un about bolstering his military's nuclear arsenal.

The big picture: North Korean officials first said they'd successfully launched long-range cruise missiles in September 2021 and later claimed they'd built weapons capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

  • North Korea's military also conducted an intercontinental ballistic missile test last Saturday and fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Monday.
  • Pyongyang said Monday's test was in response to the U.S. holding joint air exercises with South Korea and Japan over its Saturday launch.

Between the lines: The North Korean military's demonstrations "might be considered missile exercising rather than developmental testing," the U.S.-based Center for International and Strategic Studies said in a report on Tuesday.

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