North Korea has tested long-range cruise missiles, signaling further strengthening of its offensive capabilities and marking a milestone in the arms race on the Korean Peninsula. Produced on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September, they were announced on Monday by the North Korean agency KCNA. Those “Strategic weapons of great importance” to deter, guarantee the security of North Korea and “Strongly contain” the maneuvers of “Hostile forces”, would be parts of mobile launchers.
Resembling the American Tomahawk, they would have traveled 1,500 km in more than two hours and following variable trajectories, before hitting their target off the North Korean coast. The leader Kim Jong-un did not attend these shootings, specifies KCNA, whereas he is generally present during the tests of new weapons.
The launching of cruise missiles is not prohibited by the UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang, which only concern ballistic missiles. However, the new devices developed are, according to Ankit Panda, a specialist in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, official name of North Korea), “The first long-range cruise missiles and the first nuclear-capable cruise missiles”. Nuclear warheads can equip such missiles.
“This activity highlights the DPRK’s constant interest in the development of its military program and the threats this poses for its neighbors and the international community,” reacted the American command for the Indo-Pacific zone (Indopacom). The missiles tested can reach most of Japanese territory. Making part of her “Extreme concern”, the spokesperson of the Japanese government, Katsunobu Kato, saw a “Serious threat to the peace and security of Japan” and underlined the importance of strengthening missile defenses.
The military would have no idea of the trajectories followed by these missiles which, flying at low altitude, are difficult to spot
In South Korea, the general staff declined to give details of the shootings. Quoted by the daily JoongAng Ilbo, a government official allegedly admitted that neither the Americans nor the South Koreans had detected the launches, “Before they happen but also after. The government and the army are in shock “. The military would have no idea of the trajectories followed by these missiles which, flying at low altitude, are difficult to spot.
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