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North Korea launches several cruise missiles into Yellow Sea

North Korea fired several cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea on Wednesday, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, 10 days after it tested a new intermediate-range ballistic missile. File Photo by Yonhap
North Korea fired several cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea on Wednesday, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, 10 days after it tested a new intermediate-range ballistic missile. File Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- North Korea fired several cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea early Wednesday, the South Korean military reported.

The military detected the missiles at around 7 a.m., Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a message to reporters.

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Detailed specifications are being analyzed by U.S.-South Korean intelligence authorities, the JCS said.

"Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance, is cooperating closely with the U.S. and is monitoring additional signs of activity from North Korea," the brief statement added.

The launch is the latest provocation from Pyongyang, which has used weapons tests and heated rhetoric to keep tensions on the Korean Peninsula at their highest in years.

In recent weeks, the North unveiled an underwater drone it claims is capable of detonating a nuclear weapon and test-launched a new solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile.

Pyongyang also fired hundreds of artillery rounds near the de facto maritime boundary between the two countries, prompting evacuation orders on a pair of South Korean islands.

In an address to the North's rubber-stamp parliament earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called the maritime border, known as the Northern Limit Line, "illegal" and said it would "never be tolerated."

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Pyongyang has increasingly signaled that it has no intention of engaging diplomatically with Washington or Seoul as it tightens ranks with its former Cold War ally, Russia.

Kim recently called for changing the North's constitution to define South Korea as its "primary enemy state and invariable principal enemy" and rejected a longstanding official policy goal of peaceful reunification.

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