North Korea has fired two cruise missiles from the coastal town of Onchon ahead of a US-South Korea joint exercise. 

An official from the South Korean Ministry of National Defense told Agence France-Presse early on August 17, 2022, that “North Korea fired two cruise missiles towards the Yellow Sea from Onchon in South Pyongan province”. 

The recorded data, especially the range of the platform used, is being analyzed by South Korea and the United States. 

These launches are very likely to be a show of force from the regime of Kim Jong-un ahead of the joint military exercise held annually by the armed forces of South Korea and the United States called Ulchi Freedom Shield.  

Due to take place from August 22 to September 1, 2022, the drills include tens of thousands of soldiers from each nation in a combination of aerial, land and naval exercises. They were described by North Korea as a “dress rehearsal before an invasion”. 

Hours after the launches, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol reiterated a proposal he made earlier in the week of offering economic support to North Korea if the nation was to abandon its nuclear program. 

“Any dialogue between the leaders of the South and North, or negotiations between working-level officials, should not be a political show, but should contribute to establishing substantive peace on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia,” Yoon said in a news conference. 

The support package offered includes the supply of food and energy, as well as funding to modernize critical infrastructure such as hospitals and airports.