The last time North Korea conducted a weapons test was July 10, when they fired what appeared to be multiple rocket launchers.

North Korea has conducted a blitz of sanctions-busting tests this year.
North Korea has conducted a blitz of sanctions-busting tests this year. (AFP)

North Korea has fired two cruise missiles, Seoul's defence ministry has said, ending a month-long lull in Pyongyang's record-breaking spate of weapons tests this year.

Wednesday's cruise missile test was the first since January, the Yonhap News Agency reported. Cruise missiles are not banned under United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang.

"Early this morning, we detected that North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the West Sea from Onchon, South Pyongan province," a ministry official said, using an alternative name for the Yellow Sea.

"The US and South Korean military authorities are analysing detailed specifications such as flight distance."

The last time North Korea conducted a weapons test was July 10, when they fired what appeared to be multiple rocket launchers.

North Korea has conducted a blitz of sanctions-busting tests this year, including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.

Washington and Seoul officials have also warned that the isolated regime is preparing to carry out what would be its seventh nuclear test.

READ MORE: UN report: North Korea 'paves the way' for new nuclear tests

Yoon vows to ramp up drills

The cruise missile launch came as South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol marked 100 days in office on Wednesday, telling reporters at a press conference that he did not support regime change by force in North Korea.

Yoon, who took office vowing to get tough on Pyongyang, earlier this week laid out details of his "audacious plan" to offer massive aid to Pyongyang - if Kim Jong Un will give up his nuclear weapons.

Analysts say the chances of Pyongyang accepting such an offer are vanishingly slim, as North Korea, which invests a vast chunk of its GDP in weapons programmes, has long made clear it will not barter its missiles away.

Pyongyang's latest test also comes after South Korean and American military troops kicked off preliminary drills this week ahead of the start of their annual combined Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) exercise.

The two militaries have been holding talks in Seoul, and issued a joint statement saying they had discussed North Korea, "particularly the increased volume and scale of DPRK missile tests over the course of the last year", they said, using the country's official name.

"With this in mind, and considering the evolving threat posed by the DPRK, both leaders committed to expanding the scope and scale of combined military exercises and training."

This will start "with Ulchi Freedom Shield next week...to bolster combined readiness," they added. Yoon has vowed to ramp up the drills, which infuriate Pyongyang as it views them as a rehearsal for invasion.

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Source: AFP