North Korea has reportedly carried out successful tests of a new ‘strategic’ long-range cruise missile, with possible nuclear capabilities, that is capable of hitting targets in excess of 930 miles away, North Korean state-run media, KCNA, reported Monday.
The tests were carried out over the weekend raising fears that the rogue nation has been attempting to master technology capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to Japan and beyond.
The tests were conducted by the Academy of Defense Science of the DPRK and occurred on Sept. 11 and 12.
The detailed tests included tests of “missile parts, scores of engine ground thrust tests, various flight tests, control and guidance tests, warhead power tests, etc.” with all tests being successful, KCNA reported.
According to North Korean authorities, during the tests, a long-range cruise missile traveled for over 125-minutes in oval and “pattern-8” flight orbits in the air above North Korean territory and waters and successfully hit a target 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) away.
The long-range cruise missile is being characterized by the North Korean government as “a strategic weapon of great significance.” The development of the weapon was a key goal of the DPRK’s five-year plan implemented to develop defense science that was set forth at the 8th Congress of the Party.
The missiles have reportedly been under development for the past 2-years and the successful tests prove that North Korea has the ability to develop deadly weapons despite being subject to strict international sanctions.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have issued resolutions barring North Korea from testing ballistic missiles; however, cruise missiles are not explicitly banned under the UNSC.
The communist country has been heavily sanctioned over its nuclear weapons program by numerous countries including the United States, Australia, South Korea and Japan.
The tests came just days after a military parade was held in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang that marked the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding.
In a statement issued by the U.S. Indo-Pacific command on Sept. 12 the U.S. reiterated their commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan stating that its commitment “remains ironclad,” adding that, “this activity highlights DPRK’s continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors and the international community.”
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Katsunobu Kato, said that Japan had “significant concerns” about the latest tests and that Tokyo would continue to work closely with its allies, the U.S. and South Korea, to monitor the situation. The Guardian reported.
While China called for “restraint” in the region, the news “didn’t make the top headline in South Korea, nor did it make the front page of North Korea’s state newspaper.” The BBC reported.
North Korea has reportedly ignored offers from the Biden administration to resume negotiations to abandon its nuclear program. The tests over the weekend represent the most significant military activity by the North Koreans since Biden took office.