North Korea claimed it successfully test-fired new long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, according to the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)
North Korea claimed it successfully test-fired new long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, according to the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The report, dated Monday, said the country's Academy of Defence Science successfully test-fired the missiles on September 11 and 12, and that the weapons had been in development for two years.
The weapons demonstrate "another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military manoeuvres of the hostile forces against the DPRK," the agency said.
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The US and neighbouring South Korea are looking into the launch claims, officials in both countries told CNN.
"Cruise missiles are often detected after the tests are conducted for their low flight altitudes," a South Korean Defence Ministry official also said.
"North Korea had conducted two cruise missile tests already this year, but we did not disclose them as we do not disclose all cruise missile tests we detect."
The North Korean launch announcement came just as South Korea's top nuclear envoy headed to Japan to discuss North Korea with US and Japanese officials on Monday and Tuesday.
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Multiple UN Security Council resolutions have expressed concern about North Korea's ballistic missile program. However, such resolutions have not focused on the development or testing of cruise missiles.
Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines. Much like an airplane, they stay closer to the ground, making them harder to detect.
According to KCNA, the new missiles travelled for 7,580 seconds along oval and figure-eight flight orbits in the air above the territorial land and waters of North Korea and hit targets 1,500 kilometres away.
"This is a system that can reach targets throughout Japan," said Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies who specialises in open-source intelligence.
"Whereas the system we saw in March was a shorter range system just to target South Korea."
Mr Lewis was referencing a series of North Korean missile tests earlier this year where Pyongyang test-fired a missile that flew 450 kilometres.
"It's a technical achievement for them," Mr Lewis told CNN, but added that the test was "totally expected."
"It was very clear they were going to test something, and this was clearly on the list," he said.
North Korea's earlier test launches this year were widely seen as attempts to send a message to the Biden administration about the isolated country's importance in the region.
North Korea has shown off new and untested weaponry in its military parades over the last few months. The US anticipated that some of this would eventually be tested in a show of strength by North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong Un.
The North Korean leader's sister, Kim Yo Jong, had warned last month that the country would respond to joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, which would "face a more serious security threat" for ignoring repeated warnings against the drills.
Late last month, the US also approved the sale of USD$350 million of precision guided munitions and related equipment to South Korea.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/north-korean-state-media-says-it-fired-new-long-range-cruise-missiles/1fa4c943-5236-474c-a7cb-8056d1e1b64a