North Korea fires two cruise missiles, in first tests in weeks

North Korea has fired two cruise missiles into the sea, according to South Korean officials, in Pyongyang’s first weapons test in weeks.

“Early this morning, we detected that North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the West Sea from Onchon, South Pyongan province,” an unnamed military official told the Yonhap news agency on Wednesday.

“The US and South Korean military authorities are analysing detailed specifications such as flight distance,” an official told the AFP news agency.

The launches come a day after South Korea and the United States began a four-day preliminary joint drill in preparation for the long-suspended live field training known as Ulchi Freedom Shield, which takes place from August 22 to Sept. 1.

Earlier on Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol had said he ws willing to provide phased economic aid to North Korea if it ended nuclear weapons development and began denuclearisation.

Pyongyang has carried out an unprecedented wave of weapons tests this year despite tough international sanctions imposed over its weapons programmes.

There is speculation that it is preparing to test a nuclear weapon for the first since 2017.

At the end of last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the country was “ready to mobilise” its nuclear deterrent.