September 21, 2021 2:41 am
North Korea tests long-range cruise missiles, Korean Central News Agency says

North Korea tests long-range cruise missiles, Korean Central News Agency says

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SEOUL South Korea (AP). North Korea said it fired new long-range missiles. This was its first test firing in months and a clear indication of how it is expanding its military capabilities despite a deadlock in its nuclear negotiations with the United States.

The Korean Central News Agency said Monday the cruise missiles, which had been under development for two years, demonstrated an ability to hit targets 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) away during flight tests on Saturday and Sunday.

The North described its new missiles to be a “strategic weapons of great significance”. It was designed to meet leader Kim Jong -un’s call to increase the country’s military might. This implies that they were being made with the intention to arm them with nuclear warheads.

The North Korean state media published photos showing a projectile fired from a launcher truck. It also showed an apparent missile that had wings and tail fins moving in the air.

South Korea ‘s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the military was reviewing the North Korean launches using intelligence from the United States and South Korea. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said it was monitoring the situation with allies and that the North Korean activity reflects a continuing focus on “developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors and the international community.” Japan said it was “extremely concerned.”

Kim during a congress of the ruling Workers’ Party in January doubled down on his pledge to bolster his nuclear deterrent in the face of U.S. sanctions and pressure. He also stated that his national defense scientists were developing “intermediate-range cruise missiles with the most powerful warheads in the world.” Kim stated that his national defence scientists were creating “intermediate range cruise missiles with most powerful warheads North Korea ”s weapons tests are intended to build a nuclear- and missile program capable of withstanding what it claims is U.S. hostilities, but are also being considered by outside analysts to be a way for the North to demand that Washington and Seoul.

The North’s decision to resume testing activities is likely an attempt to press the Biden administration about the diplomatic freeze. This was after Kim failed in his efforts to use his arsenal for economic gains during Donald Trump’s presidency.

KCNA received the report from the North. He was due to meet with his South Korean counterpart and Japanese counterpart in Tokyo on Tuesday to discuss the stalled nuclear diplomacy with North Korea ..

North Korea reopened a year-long pause in missile testing in March with two short-range, ballistic missiles. This continued a tradition of testing new administrations using weapons demonstrations to gauge Washington’s response and negotiate concessions.

But there had not been any test launches for several months as Kim concentrated national efforts on fighting the coronavirus, and saving his economy.

KCNA said the missiles tested over the weekend traveled for 126 minutes “along an oval and pattern-8 flight orbits” above North Korean land and waters before hitting their targets.

The test launches proved that technical indices, such as the thrust power from the new turbine-blast engine and missiles’ navigation control, as well the accuracy of the combined guided mode end guided hit accuracy met the design requirements. It stated that the effectiveness and practicality of weapon system operation were “excellent”.

It appeared that Kim was not present to witness the tests. KCNA reported that Kim’s top military officer, Pak Jong Chon was present at the tests and asked for Japan’s defense scientists “all out” to improve the North’s military capability.

Japanese Chief Secretary Katsunobu Kato stated that North Korean missiles with such range would be a “serious danger to the peace, safety and security of Japan and its surrounding .”

” We are extremely concerned” while also mentioning Japanese efforts in strengthening its missile defense capabilities. While Kato stated that Tokyo was working with Washington, Seoul and Seoul to obtain information about North Korea ‘s recent tests, she also said that there was no indication that weapons had reached Japan’s exclusive economy zone.

Kim’s powerful sister last month hinted that North Korea was ready to resume weapons testing while issuing a statement berating the United States and South Korea for continuing their joint military exercises, which she said was the “most vivid expression of U.S. hostile policy.”

She then said the North would boost its pre-emptive strike capabilities while another senior official threatened unspecified countermeasures that would leave the allies facing a “security crisis.”

The allies say the drills are defensive in nature, but they have canceled or downsized them in recent years to create space for diplomacy or in response to COVID-19.

Talks between the United States of America and North Korea stalled after the collapse of the summit between Trump, Kim and 2019, where the Americans rejected North’s request for significant sanctions relief in return for partial surrender of its nuclear capability. Kim’s government has rejected the Biden administration’s attempts to have dialogue and demanded that Washington end its “hostile” policies first.

The latest tests were held after Kim organized a unique parade in Pyongyang last week. It was an obvious departure from previous militaristic displays. It featured anti-virus workers wearing hazmat suits, civil defense organizations involved with industrial work, and rebuilding communities that have been devastated by floods.

Experts stated that the parade was focused upon domestic unity, as Kim faces his most difficult test. North Korea will be facing economic sanctions from the U.S. over its nuclear weapons, and pandemic border closings, which are further straining its already fragile economy.

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Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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