‘This activity highlights [North Korea’s] focus on developing its military program and threats that it poses to its neighbours,’ said US Central Command.
North Korea on Sunday, September 12, test-fired a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend that was launched off approximately 932 miles for over two hours, then hit its targets in North Korean airspace before plunging into the territorial waters, Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday. “The efficiency and practicality of the weapon system operation were confirmed to be excellent,” the report stated, adding that the “new type” of missiles range, if accurate, would have the capability to hit as far as Tokyo.
The new missile launch comes as North Korea seeks to expand its military capabilities amid the stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States, according to the reports. It travelled for 7,580 seconds, along the “oval and pattern-8 flight orbits” KCNA reported. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato reportedly said that Japan was “worried” about the missile launch and was working in collaboration with the US and South Korea to monitor the event.
“This activity highlights [North Korea’s] continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbours and the international community,” the US Indo-Pacific command said in a statement, adding that the missile test posed “threats” to the neighbourhood countries.
‘Strategic weapon of great significance’
North Korea’s new long-range missile hailed as a “strategic weapon of great significance” had been under development for two years, and was made as a part of the autocratic leader Kim Jong Un’s vision of bolstering the military power of the country. North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried the images of the launch as the communist regime flexed its military muscle. In the images, one could see five tubes mounted on launch vehicle and a gigantic flame shot past as the missile was being tested. The new missile could well evade the defence systems of the US allies and strike a nuke into South Pacific or Japan, experts speculated. Kim Jong-Un may have not attended the test, Pak Jong Chon, a member of the Workers’ party’s powerful politburo and a secretary of its central committee told KCNA. North Korea’s testing comes as the talks focused on regulating the country’s ballistic missile programmes in return for sanction relief hit a deadlock with the US.