North Korea reportedly “successfully” test-fired a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend.
The country’s state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday that Pyongyang tested the missile on Sept. 11 and 12 in the presence of high-level officials. The cruise missiles were under development for two years. They reportedly travelled for 7,580 seconds along “oval and pattern-8 flight orbits” above North Korea and its territorial waters, and hit targets 1,500km.
The development of the missile system held “strategic significance,” giving North Korea “another effective deterrence means” for protecting the state and aiding in “strongly containing the military maneuvers of the hostile forces,” the report said.
Photographs published in North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed a missile being launched through one of the five tubes on a vehicle. “The test-firing satisfied the demand of technical indices including the thrust of the newly-developed turbofan engine and the demands for design in the flight control of missiles and the accuracy of the last-stage guiding and hitting by combined guidance,” reported KCNA.
Responding to the missile tests, the U.S. military said the county poses threat to the region and beyond. “We are aware of reports of DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) cruise missile launches. We will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our allies and partners,” the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement released just hours after the North’s announcement.
“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 statement said. “The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad.”