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North Korea says it test-fired long-range cruise missiles

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People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a railway station in Seoul on January 20, 2022, after North Korea hinted it could resume nuclear and long-range weapons tests, as it prepared for "long-term confrontation" with the United States. (Photo: AFP)
Seoul, South Korea — On Friday, state media reported that North Korea test-fired long-range cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles this week, part of a record-breaking streak of launches this year.اضافة اعلان

Pyongyang has conducted six weapons tests since the start of the year, including hypersonic missiles, in one of the most intense barrages on record, while ignoring U.S. offers of talks.

This week, it "conducted the test-fire for updating its long-range cruise missile system and for confirming the power of conventional warheads for surface-to-surface tactical guided missiles," the official Korean Central News Agency said.

KCNA said the Tuesday test involved long-range cruise missiles flying over the East Sea — also known as the Sea of Japan — and hitting "the target island 1,800km away."

KCNA added that Thursday's launch then saw short-range ballistic missiles hit a target, “proving that the explosive power of the conventional warhead complied with the design requirements.”

The flurry of tests this month comes after Kim asserted his commitment to military modernization at a key party speech in December.

Washington imposed new sanctions in response, prompting Pyongyang to double down on weapons testing.  North Korea hinted last week that it could abandon a years-long self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range tests.

Kim also visited a munitions factory that produces "a major weapon system,” KCNA said.

In a photograph released by the news agency, a beaming Kim, wearing his usual long black belted leather jacket, is seen surrounded by uniformed officials.

Kim “highly appreciated the factory contributing to collective innovation and leaping progress in producing major weapons,” KCNA reported.

The string of tests comes at a delicate time in the region, with Kim's sole major ally China set to host the Winter Olympics next month and South Korea gearing up for a presidential election in March.

Domestically, North Korea is preparing to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the birth of the late leader Kim Jong Il in February and the 110th birthday of founder Kim Il Sung in April.

Chelsea's German defender Antonio Rüdiger (L) vies with Brighton's German midfielder Pascal Groß during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England, on January 18, 2022.


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