A TV screen shows a file image of North Korea’s missile launch during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. South Korea says it has issued an air raid alert for residents on an island off its eastern coast after North Korea fired a few missiles toward the seaInternationalIndiaAfricaThe Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) broke a several-year calm period last September when it began a slew of new missile tests it said were in response to provocative war games carried out by Japan, South Korea, and the United States. The latter two have remained in a legal state of war with the DPRK since 1950.According to reports in North Korean media on Friday morning, the Korean People’s Army test-fired four “Hwasal-2 strategic cruise missiles” from the northeastern city of Kim Chaek towards the Sea of Japan, called the East Sea in Korea.”The four strategic cruise missiles precisely hit the preset target on the East Sea of Korea after traveling the 2,000 kilometer-long elliptical and eight-shaped flight orbits for 10,208 seconds to 10,224 seconds,” the report said. “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.As is often the case with North Korean weapons tests, Friday’s announcement coincided with tabletop war games hosted by the Pentagon involving US and South Korean forces. The US has kept more than 28,000 troops in South Korea since the 1950-53 war ended in a ceasefire instead of a permanent peace treaty, and South Korean forces are legally obligated to fall under American command in case the war becomes hot once again.Pyongyang says it needs its strategic weapons, which include intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and nuclear weapons, to guarantee its safety in lieu of a permanent peace treaty and the withdrawal of US forces from the South.In a statement last week, Kim Yo Jong, the deputy director of the Korean Workers Party’s information department, said in a statement that “if they truly worry about the situation on the Korean Peninsula and want peace and stability, all the countries should never tolerate the high-handedness and tyranny of the United States to turn the UN Security Council, which has a responsibility for international peace and security, into an organization for implementing its heinous hostile policy” toward the DPRK.WorldChina Slams US For ‘Double Standards’ Over North Korea Nuclear Issue, Says Sanctions a ‘Dead End’21 February, 09:43 GMT”I tell the fools that we will not aim at Seoul with an intercontinental ballistic missile,” she said. “We still have no intention to deal with South Korea. Upon the authorization, I warn that we will watch every movement of the enemy, respond to every hostile act against us, and take very powerful and overwhelming countermeasures.”After a brief rapprochement in 2018 and 2019, attempts at reaching a peace accord fell apart after the US refused to lower economic sanctions against the DPRK in response to major steps taken by the North toward ending its nuclear program, and the North refused to go any further without reciprocation from Washington. Relations have continued to cool ever since, with the US and South Korea resuming their rehearsals of an attack on the North and the North resuming its weapons tests, although it has kept to the 2017 self-imposed moratorium on nuclear tests.In September 2022, the DPRK resumed its testing of longer-range ballistic missiles, as well as cruise missiles and what it claimed was a hypersonic weapon. Those missile drills coincided with war games directed against the DPRK by South Korea, Japan, and the United States.Earlier this week, the DPRK test-fired a Hwasong-15 ICBM in what it described as a “surprise ICBM launching drill,” and has pledged to test an even longer-range weapon in the near future.