North Korea launched multiple cruise missiles toward the sea on Wednesday, South Korea's military said, three days after the North carried out what it called a simulated nuclear attack on South Korea.
The launches are the North's fourth round of weapons tests since the US and South Korean militaries last week began large-scale military drills that the North views as an invasion rehearsal.
The 11-day US-South Korean military drills are to end on Thursday. But North Korea is expected to continue its testing activities as the United States reportedly plans to send an aircraft carrier in coming days for another round of joint drills with South Korea.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected “several” cruise missile launches made from the North's northeastern coastal town of Hamhung.
It said the missiles flew into the North's eastern waters and that South Korean and US intelligence authorities were analyzing further details.
Coming off a record year in testing activity, the North has extended its provocative run in weapons demonstrations in 2023, launching around 20 missiles in 10 separate events.
The weapons that were tested included short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles capable of striking South Korea and intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to attack the mainland US.
Wednesday's launches were the North's first tests of cruise missiles since March 21, when it said it fired two cruise missiles from a submarine.
Last month, North Korea launched what it called four long-range cruise missiles that demonstrated potential ranges to strike targets 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) away.
On Sunday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a test-firing of a short-range ballistic missile that was launched from what was possibly a silo dug into the ground.
North Korea's state media called the launch a simulated nuclear attack on unspecified South Korean targets.