North Korea claims to have successfully test-fired new long-range cruise missiles created by the country’s engineers over the weekend.
According to a report issued on Monday, September 13 by the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the missiles were successfully test-fired on September 11 and 12, and the weapons had been in development for two years.
The weapons demonstrate “another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing our state’s security and strongly containing hostile forces’ military maneuvers against the DPRK,” according to the agency, which uses the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The North Korean launch announcement comes just as South Korea’s top nuclear envoy heads to Japan to discuss North Korea with US and Japanese officials on Monday and Tuesday. China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, is scheduled to visit South Korea this week as well.
This missile test was the most significant from North Korea since US President Joe Biden took office in January.
According to KCNA, the new missiles traveled 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 kilometers (930 miles) away.
The US and it’s Ally, 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. 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,” a South Korean Defense Ministry official also said.
The US military’s Indo-Pacific Command said in a Monday statement;
“This activity highlights DPRK’s continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors and the international community,” the Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines and they are harder to detect.