North Korea on Friday tested a long-range strategic cruise missile during a nuclear counterattack exercise, Reuters reported.
According to North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the exercise that was conducted on Thursday involved an operational strategic cruise missile unit of the Korean People's Army. The unit fired the four "Hwasal-2" missiles in the area of Kim Chaek City, North Hamgyong Province, towards the sea off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.
Other units of the army conducted firepower training at hardened sites without live firing, Reuters reported.
The drill demonstrated "the war posture of the DPRK nuclear combat force, bolstering in every way its deadly nuclear counterattack capability against hostile forces," said KCNA.
North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) into the sea off Japan's west coast on Saturday, prompting the United States to hold joint air exercises with South Korea and separately with Japan on Sunday (February 19).
"These demonstrations might be considered missile exercise rather than developmental testing," the US-based Center for International and Strategic Studies said in a report this week.
North Korea could test-fire ICBMs on a lower, longer trajectory and conduct its seventh nuclear test this year to perfect its weapons capabilities, South Korean lawmakers said on Wednesday, citing intelligence officials.