North Korea fired cruise missiles in the direction of the Yellow Sea today, South Korea’s National Defense General Staff said, as tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang remain high.

“Our military detected several cruise missiles fired from North Korea in the direction of the Yellow Sea” at around 07:00 (local time; midnight Greek time), the staff said.

The specifications of these missiles are being analyzed by South Korean and US intelligence services, according to the same source.

Missile tests of this kind are not prohibited under UN Security Council sanctions against Pyongyangunlike those of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

The launches came as South Korea’s armed forces hold special forces drills – which include drills to penetrate “deep into the enemy’s rear” – off its east coast until Thursday, amid “serious security concerns”. according to the Navy.

The tension between the two countries continues to worsen in recent months.

The two countries have suspended agreements they signed in 2018 to prevent incidents on their borders, beefed up their forces on the highly militarized border and engaged in live-fire artillery drills in each other’s direction.

The neighboring states remain, technically, at war: the Korean War (1950-1953) ended with an armistice, no peace agreement was ever signed.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared South Korea his country’s “main enemy”, moved to dismantle organizations dedicated to reunification and contacts with Seoul, and threatened to declare war if the neighbor dared to encroach on even “0.001 of a millimeter” of his country’s territory.

He also called for a revision of the Constitution so that North Korea would be able to proceed with an “occupation” of Seoul in the event of war, according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

In late December, Mr Kim ordered his military’s preparations to be stepped up in the event of a “war” that could “break out at any time”. He denounced the situation of “permanent and uncontrollable crisis” on the peninsula, laying the blame for it on Seoul and Washington, after their common high schools.

The tone has also gone up on the other sidewith conservative President Yoon Seok-gil proclaiming that South Korea will respond in a “many times stronger” way to any “provocation” and asserting the “overwhelming retaliatory capabilities” of its military.

Last year, Pyongyang ramped up its tests of weapons it is theoretically prohibited from possessing, based on UN resolutions.

In the middle and early this month, respectively, it test-fired a solid-fueled hypersonic missile and conducted live-fire artillery drills near the two states’ maritime borders, prompting Seoul to order the hasty evacuation of island residents near North Korean coasts. Seoul retaliated with similar high schools in the same area.

And on Friday, North Korea tested an “underwater nuclear weapons system” in retaliation for joint US, South Korean and Japanese naval training in waters south of the peninsula.

Pyongyang was also able to launch a spy satellite late last year after receiving — at least according to Seoul’s allegations — technological help from Moscow in exchange for deliveries of ammunition for use in Ukraine.