In the midst of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea conducted a series of cruise missile launches on Sunday morning, January 28. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) of South Korea reported that the launches took place around 8:00 AM local time in the waters near the Sinpo Port.

"Our military detected several unidentified cruise missiles fired near the waters around the Sinpo region of North Korea at 8:00 AM today," stated the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, as quoted by AFP on Sunday.

South Korea revealed that its intelligence authorities, in collaboration with the United States, are currently analyzing the missile launches. They are closely monitoring any additional movements and activities from North Korea.

This missile launch comes just a few days after North Korea fired a number of strategic cruise missiles named Pulhwasal-3-31 into the Yellow Sea on Wednesday, January 24. The launch was characterized as the first test of the new generation of strategic cruise missiles.

According to The Korea Times, experts suggest that Pulhwasal-3-31 appears to be a nuclear-capable cruise missile, given that the number in its name corresponds to Hwasan-31, a tactical nuclear warhead first launched by North Korea in March 2023.

Since the beginning of the year, Pyongyang has accelerated its weapon testing activities, including a "submarine-launched nuclear weapon system" and solid-fuel ballistic hypersonic missiles, amid rising tensions with South Korea.

Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missile tests are not prohibited under United Nations (UN) sanctions against North Korea. Cruise missiles, being jet-propelled and flying at lower altitudes than ballistic missiles, are considered more challenging to detect and intercept.

However, the launch poses a serious threat to South Korea's security, as nuclear warheads can potentially be mounted on such cruise missiles.

Recently, North Korea has been escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula by conducting various weapon tests in response to joint military exercises conducted by South Korea and the United States. North Korea perceives these joint exercises as a threat to its territory, leading to repeated launches of various types of missiles and drones near the border as a form of protest against the exercises.

This latest missile launch follows North Korea's first missile launch of the year on January 14, where the country fired a solid-fuel hypersonic missile into the East Sea, prompting South Korea to conduct response drills and issue evacuation orders on several border islands.