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(LEAD) N. Korea fires two apparent cruise missiles from land: Seoul official

All News 15:16 January 25, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details from 3rd para; MODIFIES headline; ADDS byline)
By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- North Korea seems to have test-fired at least two cruise missiles from an inland area, a South Korean official said, in what would be Pyongyang's fifth known round of missile launches this year.

"We still need to conduct a detailed analysis (on the launches)," the military official told reporters on condition of anonymity. "But I want to say that should such a missile be launched southward, our detection and interception systems have no problem countering it."

The official did not offer details, including origins and targets.

The North conducted the last known test of a cruise missile in September last year. At the time, it claimed to have fired a "new-type long-range cruise missile," calling it a "strategic weapon of great significance."

A cruise missile test does not run afoul of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning any launch using ballistic missile technology.

Usually, the South's military does not make any formal announcement or statement in response to the North's cruise missile tests, versus swift public reaction against its ballistic missile activities.

The North fired what it called two tactical guided missiles on Jan. 17, just three days after its purported test-firing of two other missiles by its railway-borne unit.

It also shot what it claims to be hypersonic missiles on Jan. 5 and 11, raising concerns they could dodge South Korea's missile defense, though the authenticity of the assertions has yet to be vouched for.

In a sign the recalcitrant regime could engage in more provocative acts, Pyongyang made a thinly-veiled threat last Thursday to lift its yearslong self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests.

This photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Jan. 18, 2022, shows a tactical guided missile being launched the previous day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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