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North Korea fires two possible cruise missiles, say media reports

North Korea fired what appeared to be two cruise missiles off its western coast on 21 March, the first reported missile firings by the northeast Asian country in about a year, South Korea media reported on 23 March citing the country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The Yonhap News Agency quoted a JCS official as telling reporters, “We detected two projectiles presumed to be cruise missiles fired from the North’s western port county of Onchon [on] early Sunday [21 March].”

The media outlet reported that the official refused to disclose further details about weapons, including their exact type, flight range, and apogee, saying only that South Korean and US authorities have been analysing details and closely monitoring related moves.

Pyongyang’s state-owned media has yet to release any information about the missile firings, which are the first to take place during the administration of US President Joe Biden.

During a 23 March call with reporters, two senior Biden administration officials said that they are not overly concerned with the most recent missile launch and characterised it as “normal” military activity, with the “threat falling on the low-end of the spectrum”.

“While we take all of its military activity seriously and will continue to consult closely on this with partners and allies, we see this action in the category of normal military activity by the North,” one senior administration official added.

The last time Pyongyang was reported to have launched missiles was on 14 April 2020 when it fired what appeared to be a salvo of short-range anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) into the East Sea (also known as the Sea of Japan).

A JCS official told Janes

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