South Korea says several North Korean fighter jets have fired missiles off the North’s east coast, following a suspected cruise missile test launch on Tuesday morning.
A South Korean defence official said the fighter jets fired an unspecified number of air-to-surface missiles towards the North’s eastern waters, one day before the South's parliamentary elections.
The launches also come on the eve of the 108th birthday of North Korea’s late founder, Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un.
In recent weeks, North Korea has carried out a series of short-range missile and other weapons tests amid stalled nuclear talks with the United States.
Most of the weapons tested have been ballistic missiles or long-range artillery shells. It is unusual for North Korea to launch a cruise missile.
The US has said sanctions on North Korea will stay in place unless it takes significant steps toward denuclearisation.
Talks between the two countries have broken down since a failed summit in Vietnam in February 2019.
Despite US President Donald Trump's unprecedented visit to North Korea last June, disputes over sanctions relief have persisted with continued threats from Mr Kim.
Around two weeks ago, South Korea labelled the North "very inappropriate" for carrying out weapons tests during the coronavirus pandemic.
North Korea has repeatedly said there has been no COVID-19 outbreak in the country, however, many experts are sceptical of that claim.
There are fears that an outbreak in the North could become a humanitarian disaster because of the country's lack of medical supplies and fragile healthcare system.
Cover image: Library image of a North Korean missile test (Picture: KCNA).