North Korean state media on Monday, Sept. 13, said its government successfully tested its new long-range cruise missile over the weekend.
According to Reuters, the weapon was capable of traveling up to 930 miles (1,500km), the official KCNA news agency said. It hit the targets and fell into the country’s territorial waters on Saturday and Sunday.
It implies that the country could still afford military weapon development despite food shortages and an economic crisis.
The latest test underscored Pyongyang’s weapons development despite a stalemate in talks intended at eliminating the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief from the United States.
The U.S. military took the news to mean it’s a potential threat to the country’s neighbors and beyond.
“This activity highlights [North Korea’s] continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that pose to its neighbors and the international community,” the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement according to the news outlet.
North Korea’s neighbor, Japan, shared similar views about the reports. The country would cooperate with the United States to keep a close eye on the event.
KCNA had praised the missile as “a strategic weapon of great significance,” giving that the weapon advances would guarantee protection from “military maneuvers of the hostile forces.”
Images released included one showing a missile being shot from a launch vehicle and another flying horizontally in the sky.
“This is another system that is designed to fly under missile defense radars or around them,” observed Jeffrey Lewis, a missile researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
Lewis commented that intermediate-range land-attack cruise missiles posed a similar danger to ballistic missiles and provided North Korea with a significant capability.
According to Reuters, since cruise missiles are not officially forbidden under the U.N. Nations Security Council Resolutions sanctions, they attract less attention than ballistic missiles.
The latest test underscored Pyongyang’s weapons development despite a stalemate in talks intended at eliminating the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs in exchange for sanctions relief from the United States. The news media noted such a negotiation had been postponed two years ago.
North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor that is widely thought to have produced plutonium for nuclear bombs, the UN atomic watchdog alerted last month, according to The Guardian.
The Biden administration has stated that diplomacy is a viable option for achieving North Korea’s denuclearization but has shown little desire to reduce sanctions.
The South Korean military on Monday said that it was working with the United States on rigorous analysis.