North Korea tested a new model of “long-range cruise missile” this weekend, a release that drew criticism from the United States, South Korea and Japan. As reported by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), it is a “strategic weapon of great importance “. Pyongyang had not conducted a nuclear test or ICBM launch since 2017.
The test launches They took place this Saturday and Sunday and were supervised by high authorities of the country. The projectiles flew over North Korea and its territorial waters and they hit targets 1,500 kilometers away. Diary images Rodong Sinmun they showed the moment when a missile exited one of the five tubes in a launch vehicle in the middle of a fireball, as well as a missile in horizontal flight.
The KCNA agency classified the missile as “strategic weapon of great importance” and added that “the efficiency and functionality of the weapons system confirmed to be excellent.” He further said that the development of the missile system gives North Korea “another means of deterrence “to protect oneself and” strongly contain military maneuvers by hostile forces. “
Unlike ballistic missiles that have also been developed and tested by the North Korean government, cruise missiles are not subject to United Nations Security Council sanctions, for being considered in principle a lower level arms threat. Nevertheless, this type of missile can fly at a lower height and with very flat trajectories, which makes them difficult to intercept. What’s more, in many cases they bear the weight of a nuclear warhead well.
“A threat to the neighbors”
The United States Army questioned this weekend’s release and warned of the dangers it poses. “This activity shows that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) continues to develop its military program, which means threats to your neighbors and the international community“the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
Another country that made reference to the launch was South Korea, who claimed they are doing “A detailed analysis of the evidence in close cooperation with the South Korean and US intelligence agencies.” The government of Japan too expressed concern and indicated that a missile of this range “It poses a threat to the peace and security of Japan and the region.”
Currently, the Asian country faces numerous international sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic programs, which it continues to develop. The same goes for the production of cruise missiles, which it has already tested on previous occasions.
Nuclear talks with the United States have been stalled since 2019The impoverished country showed no willingness to abandon its atomic arsenal and reneged on South Korea’s efforts to restart dialogue. Sung Kim, US President Joe Biden’s envoy for North Korea, repeatedly expressed his willingness to meet with his counterparts “anywhere, anytime.”
The weekend’s launches came shortly after a low-key parade in Pyongyang. to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the country. The tests were not an isolated phenomenon.
Last week, South Korea tested a submarine-launched self-made ballistic missile, a technology that the neighbor to the North has wanted to develop. In fact, in January this year, Pyongyang exhibited four such missiles during a military parade overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a technology that the KCNA called “the most powerful weapon in the world.”
North Korea also released photos of underwater launches, the most recent in 2019, but analysts believe they were not launched from a submarine but from fixed platforms.
Despite the fact that the North Korean government continues to maintain a kind of self-imposed moratorium since 2017 on nuclear and intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) tests, the tests carried out in the last two years draw a strategy focused on designing increasingly agile and sophisticated projectiles.