North Korea fires ‘multiple cruise missiles’ into Yellow Sea

The Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul said Pyongyang fired “several cruise missiles” into the Yellow Sea between the Korean Peninsula and China on Saturday, but was silent on the fate of a US soldier who fled south into its territory on Tuesday.

In addition, several ambassadors to the United Nations have asked China for “assistance” on North Korea.

According to the same source, the missile fire occurred at 4 a.m. local time on Saturday (7 p.m. GMT on Friday). They come three days after two ballistic missiles, this time in the Sea of ​​Japan, on the opposite east coast.

“South Korean and US intelligence are analyzing the launch while monitoring for signs of additional activity,” the South Korean military said.

Relations between the two Koreas are at an all-time low, diplomacy has stalled and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for an accelerated arms race, including strategic nuclear weapons.

The latest cruise missile launch comes as US soldier Travis King crossed into North Korea from the south on Tuesday and is believed to be held there by authorities, according to the US military.

The soldier, who was serving a prison sentence in South Korea for the assault, was returned to the United States to face disciplinary sanctions.

North Korea had not yet reported any news about him to Washington on Friday, with the US military saying it was “very concerned” about Travis King’s fate and “the way he may be treated”.

State Department spokesman Matt Miller said on Thursday, “The Pentagon has attempted to contact the North Korean military to learn about King’s condition, but has not received a response.”

The same day, Pyongyang announced that a US nuclear submarine stop in South Korea “could fall within the scope of the use” of its own nuclear weapons.

Seoul responded to these threats the next day by affirming that any such attack would mark the “end” of Kim Jong Un’s regime.

– Call China –

North Korea has been subject to international sanctions since 2006, which were tripled in 2017.

Steps taken unanimously by the Security Council that year specifically limited oil imports from North Korea to force Pyongyang to curtail its nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.

The United States, the European Union, South Korea and other countries have requested “assistance” from China to prevent North Korea from circumventing UN oil sanctions by using Chinese territorial waters, according to a letter seen by AFP on Friday.

The document has been signed by UN ambassadors from Australia, Canada, France, the European Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK and the US.

They are seeking assistance from their Chinese counterpart Zhang Jun, who said they are particularly concerned about the “repeated presence of several tankers” identified by the UN sanctions panel of experts as using your national waters in Sansha Bay as a haven to facilitate their trade in petroleum products approved for North Korea.

In May 2022, China and Russia vetoed a resolution imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang, and since then no council resolution or statement has been adopted.

The United States in particular regularly accuses Beijing and Moscow of acting as “shields” for the North Korean regime and of encouraging new firings by stalling the council’s united response.

US, South Korean and Japanese leaders are due to meet in the United States in August to strengthen their cooperation in the face of growing threats from Pyongyang.

During the same month, Washington and Seoul are scheduled to begin their main annual joint military exercise, called the Ulchi Freedom Shield.

These exercises are viewed very badly by North Korea, which sees them as rehearsals for an invasion of its territory.

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