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North Korea says it test-fired 4 missiles a day after the U.S. held defense drills

This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says is a launching drill of a cruise missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea on early Thursday.
AP
This photo provided by the North Korean government shows what it says is a launching drill of a cruise missile at an undisclosed location in North Korea on early Thursday.

SEOUL — North Korea says it test-launched four nuclear-capable cruise missiles, its first cruise missile test since November. The launch comes a day after the U.S. and South Korea held tabletop exercises simulating a North Korean nuclear attack.

The Korean Central News Agency said the four strategic cruise missiles each flew about 1,200 miles to the east, in elliptical and figure-8-shaped trajectories, before hitting targets in the sea.

South Korea's military did not say if it detected the launches or not. It says it is investigating whether the North's claims about the launch are true.

The U.S., South Korea and Japan held trilateral missile defense drills this week off the coast of South Korea.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry called in a statement for the U.S. to stop deploying strategic weapons, such as aircraft carriers, to the Korean peninsula, and halt joint military drills with South Korea.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.