- North Korea said it has successfully tested what it described as new long-range cruise missiles.
- North Korea described its new missiles as a “strategic weapon of great importance.”
- The evidence demonstrates that North Korea continues to expand its military capabilities amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States.
North Korea announced successful test firing of new long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, the first known in months that demonstrates the country’s persistence in expanding its military capabilities amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States.
Korea’s Central Telegraphic Agency said on Monday that the cruise missiles, in development for two years, showed their ability to hit targets 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) away during flight tests on Saturday and Sunday.
North Korea launches long-range cruise missiles
North Korea described its new missiles as a “strategic weapon of great importance” that responds to the call of the ruler Kim Jong Un to reinforce the country’s military power, which suggests that they are being developed so that they have the capacity to carry nuclear warheads. .
North Korean state media published photos of a rocket fired from a launch truck and what appeared to be a missile with wings and tail fins moving through the air, it reported. The Associated Press.
Missiles pose a “serious threat to peace”
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff noted that the armed forces are analyzing North Korean launches based on intelligence information from their country and the United States. The US Indo-Pacific Command said it is monitoring the situation with its allies and that North Korean activity reflects Pyongyang’s persistent emphasis on “developing its military program and the threat it poses to its neighbors and the international community.”
For his part, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said North Korean missiles of such a range pose a “serious threat to the peace and security of Japan and its surrounding areas.”
Japan works with the US to evaluate the launch of the missiles
“We are extremely concerned,” said Kato, who mentioned Japan’s efforts to strengthen its missile defense capabilities. Kato noted that Tokyo is working with Washington and Seoul to gather information on North Korea’s most recent tests, but noted that there was currently no indication that the missiles penetrated Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The announcement about the missile test launches came before US President Joe Biden’s special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, met in Tokyo on Tuesday with his counterparts from South Korea and Japan to discuss the stagnant nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang.
Pressure and sanctions from Washington
During a Workers’ Party congress in January, Kim reaffirmed his commitment to upgrading his deterrent nuclear weapons in the face of sanctions and pressure from Washington. It unveiled a long list of the modern weaponry it wants, such as longer-range ICBMs, nuclear submarines, spy satellites and tactical atomic weapons. Kim also said that his national defense scientists are developing “intermediate-range cruise missiles with the most powerful nuclear warheads in the world.”
The goal of North Korea’s weapons tests is to develop a nuclear and missile program that can deal with what it describes as hostility from the United States and South Korea, but outside analysts also see it as a way of making it look make clear to Washington and Seoul what their political demands are.
North Korea could be putting pressure on the US
With the resumption of tests, North Korea may be trying to urge the government of US President Joe Biden to act against the diplomatic freeze after Kim failed to obtain economic benefits with his arsenal during the presidency of Donald Trump.
The ATCC said the missiles tested over the weekend traveled 126 minutes “along an elliptical, 8-shaped orbit of flight over North Korean territory before hitting their targets.
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