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North Korea test-fires four strategic cruise missiles to showcase "nuclear combat force": Report

Seoul [South Korea], February 24 (ANI): North Korea test-fired four strategic cruise missiles from Kim Chaek in North Hamgyong province toward the East Sea during a drill on Thursday to demonstrate the "war posture of the DPRK nuclear combat force," Yonhap news agency reported citing Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

According to the news report, a sub-unit of the North's strategic cruise missile unit fired four "Hwasal-2 strategic cruise missiles" from Kim Chaek. The launches came on the heels of the joint military exercises between the US and South Korea earlier this week.

The four cruise missiles hit the preset target on the East Sea of Korea after travelling the 2,000-kilometer-long elliptical and eight-shaped flight orbits for 10,208 seconds to 10,224 seconds, the report stated.

"The drill reconfirmed the reliability of the weapon system and examined the rapid response posture of strategic cruise missile units that constitute one of major forces of the DPRK nuclear deterrent," Yonhap news agency quoted KCNA as saying.

"The drill clearly demonstrated once again the war posture of the DPRK nuclear combat force bolstering up in every way its deadly nuclear counterattack capability against the hostile forces," it added.

South Korea's military said it was analysing various possibilities, including whether North Korea's claim of the launches was true or not, the Yonhap report said.

In a statement, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the South Korean and United States reconnaissance and surveillance assets were closely monitoring the relevant area at the time of the drills Pyongyang has claimed.

On February 22, the US, Japan and South Korea conducted a trilateral ballistic missile defence exercise, the US Navy said in a statement.

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Barry (DDG 52) conducted a trilateral ballistic missile defence exercise in the Sea of Japan along with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Atago-class guided missile destroyer JS Atago (DDG 177), and South Korea's Navy destroyer ROKS Sejong the Great (DDG 991).

"This exercise enhances the interoperability of our collective forces and demonstrates the strength of the trilateral relationship with our Japan and Republic of Korea allies. This trilateral cooperation is reflective of our shared values and resolve against those who challenge regional stability," US Navy said in a statement. (ANI)