North Korea Is Testing New Cruise Missiles

North Korea claims that it has successfully tested novel cruise missiles with long ranges. The Defense Science Academy carried out the tests over the weekend, the state media reported. It was the first North Korean missile tests since March.

The state agency KCNA called the new missile type a “strategic weapon of great importance”. This gives North Korea “another effective means of deterring” “hostile forces”. According to observers, North Korea indicated that the new guided missile also had the potential to carry nuclear warheads.

According to reports from North Korea, the new type was tested on Saturday and Sunday. The guided missiles flew for 7,580 seconds (around two hours and six minutes) on an oval trajectory over the mainland and the waters in North Korea. They would have hit their targets 1,500 meters away. The type was created in two years of development work. Detailed tests of rocket parts, a large number of engine tests on the ground, control and steering tests were carried out successfully.

UN resolutions prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles, which, depending on their design, can also carry nuclear warheads. However, tests of cruise missiles are not subject to sanctions against the country. Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles have their own permanent drive.

Nuclear negotiations are still out of ice

As was the case a few months earlier, the most recent North Korean weapons tests were carried out after a joint military exercise by the armed forces of the USA and South Korea. The joint command exercise, criticized by Pyongyang, ended after nine days on August 26th. In March, North Korea had also launched cruise missiles after a similar commando exercise in South Korea.

The missile tests also took place just a few days after a parade in the capital Pyongyang on the national holiday, which was much less martial than in previous years. This time the parade did not show rockets, but mainly tractors and fire engines. The largest weapons on display were tractor-drawn artillery.

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The negotiations between the USA and North Korea about its nuclear program have been stuck for a good two and a half years . In February 2019, a summit meeting between former US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong Un in Vietnam failed. Under US President Joe Biden, who has been in office since the beginning of this year, there has so far been no rapprochement between Washington and Pyongyang.

At a party congress earlier this year, Kim announced that his country would strengthen nuclear deterrence with new weapons, including new ICBMs. North Korea has not carried out nuclear tests since 2017. There have also been no more ICBM ballistic missile tests since then.

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