North Korea says it successfully tested a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend, after two years of work on its development.
The two tests, carried out on September 11 and 12, followed a joint drill between the US and South Korea late last month, despite protests from North Korea.
According to state media, the cruise missile hit the target at a distance of around 1,500 kilometers. The test also verified the performance of the newly-developed turbofan engine as well as flight control and the missile guidance systems.
“The development of this weapon system persistently promoted as the most important work amid the special concern of the Party Central Committee is of strategic significance as it is another effective deterrent ensuring the security of our state more firmly and overpowering powerfully the anti-DPRK military moves of the hostile forces,” the Academy of National Defense Science of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said in a statement.
In a statement on Monday, the US Indo-Pacific Command said it was “aware of reports of DPRK cruise missile launches.” The command said it is monitoring the situation in cooperation with allies.
The test follows a relatively calm year when it comes to North Korean missile launches. In March this year, the state fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea after a 12-month test hiatus. Since then, there have been no known missile launches from the state, up until this weekend. Kim Yong Un is believed to be focusing efforts on battling the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the country’s frail economy.