North Korea fired two cruise missiles off the west coast on Sunday, South Korean authorities said on Wednesday. 

“We detected two projectiles presumed to be cruise missiles fired from the North’s western port country of Onchon early Sunday,” Yonhap News Agency quoted a Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) officer as saying.

However, he refused to share more details and said both Seoul and Washington are analyzing the situation.

Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are not banned under UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea.

“Pyongyang has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing since late 2017,” the news agency said.

North Korea carried out the latest missile test nearly a year after it launched multiple short-range cruise missiles into the East Sea on April 14, 2020.

The latest move came just a few days after the visit of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and State Secretary Antony Blinken to Seoul.

US officials in their initial reaction said they are not considered the missile a “provocation”.

“We’re also aware of military activity last weekend by DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] that is not sanctioned under U.N. Security Council resolutions, restricting the ballistic missile program,” a senior administration official said in a telephonic press briefing.

“We do not publicly respond to every kind of test. What I think [we] are trying to underscore for you is that this is a system that is not covered by UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” Yonhap quoted another US administration official as saying, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

Last week, North Korea said they turned down a US request for contact and said dialogue would be possible only if both sides come to “equal footing.”

In a statement, North Korean First Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui said Washington had been trying to make contact through several channels since mid-February.

But, dialogue will be made when circumstances for discussion on an equal footing are created, he added.

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