North Korea test-fires new ‘long-range cruise missile’

North Korea said it had test-fired a new “long-range cruise missile” over the weekend, describing it as a “strategic important” weapon.

The new missile tests, which took place on both September 11 and 12, were overseen by senior North Korean officials and were “successful”, the KCNA news agency reported.

The missile traveled for 7,580 seconds along an “oval and figure-eight trajectory” over North Korea’s territory and its territorial waters, then hit a target 1,500 kilometers away.

A new North Korean tactical guided missile was test-fired in March.  Photo: Reuters.

A new North Korean tactical guided missile was test-fired in March. Photo: Reuters.

The KCNA report called the new missile model a “strategic weapon of great significance”, adding that “the efficiency and practicality of the newly confirmed weapon system are excellent”.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, the development of the new missile system gives Pyongyang “another effective deterrent” and helps “restrain the military maneuvers of hostile forces”. .

The Pentagon was not immediately available for comment. The test launch came just days after a large military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding. This is the first time North Korea has test-fired a missile since March. Pyongyang has also not tested nuclear or ballistic missiles since 2017.

North Korea is under a series of international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Nuclear negotiations between North Korea and the United States have so far not made much progress. Sung Kim, US President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea, has repeatedly expressed his willingness to meet his North Korean counterparts “anywhere, at any time”.

However, Pyongyang has not shown it wants to give up its nuclear weapons, and has rejected Seoul’s efforts to restore dialogue.

Last month, the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) said North Korea appeared to have restarted its plutonium-producing recycling reactor at Yongbyon, calling it a “serious” move.

South Korea last week tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, a technology North Korea has long sought to develop. North Korea displayed four such devices at a military parade in January, calling them “the most powerful weapons in the world”.

Vu Hoang (Follow AFP)

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