N. Korea fires cruise missiles into the sea after US-S. Korean military drills end

North Korea launched several cruise missiles into the sea Saturday, South Korea’s military said, extending its weapons testing activities in response to the United States-South Korea summer military drills.

South Korea’s military detected the launches early Saturday morning off the North’s west coast, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The statement said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities were analyzing details of the launches. It said South Korea has boosted its surveillance posture and maintains a firm military readiness in close coordination with the United States.

The launches came two days after the U.S. and South Korean militaries wrapped up their 11-day training exercises that North Korea regards as a rehearsal for invasion. Washington and Seoul officials maintain their drills are defensive.

A day before the U.S.-South Korean training ended, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea in a launch it said was meant to simulate “scorched earth” nuclear strikes on South Korea. The North said it was separately holding a command post exercise aimed at rehearsing an occupation of South Korea’s territory in the event of conflict.

On Aug. 21, the day when the U.S.-South Korean drills began, North Korea’s state media said its leader Kim Jong Un observed cruise missile launches.

North Korea’s second attempt to place a military spy satellite in orbit failed Aug. 24, but the country said it will make a third attempt in October. HYUNG-JIN KIM, SEOUL, MDT/AP

Categories Asia-Pacific