North Korea Fires ‘Strategic Weapon Of Great Significance’
North Korea says it has successfully launched a long-range cruise missile – the first of its kind developed by the country.
The missile was described by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as a ‘strategic weapon of great significance’ and was reportedly capable of hitting targets more than 900 miles away.
The launch is North Korea’s first missile test since March, when it debuted a short-range tactical missile. During the test launch over the weekend, the long-range cruise missile was reportedly flown in ‘different patterns’ over the country to hit targets 932 miles away.
South Korean and US intelligence said they were monitoring the launch. In a statement, per The Guardian, the US Indo-Pacific command said, ‘This activity highlights [North Korea’s] continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses [to] its neighbours and the international community.’
Unlike the ballistic missiles tested by North Korea in the past, cruise missiles such as the one tested over the weekend are not banned under UN Security Council sanctions against the country, as they are considered less powerful and less likely to carry a nuclear warhead.
However, nuclear weapons analysts Ankit Panda told Reuters it was still possible the cruise missile tested at the weekend could be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
‘This would be the first cruise missile in North Korea to be explicitly designated a ‘strategic’ role. This is a common euphemism for nuclear capable system,’ he said.
The latest test comes just over a month after the United Nations said it believed North Korea had restarted a nuclear reactor believed to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.
Nuclear disarmament discussions in the region have made little progress following high profile talks between the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, former US president Donald Trump and South Korean president Kim Moon-jae in 2018.
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