Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - NK test-fires new ‘long-range cruise missile’



NK test-fires new ‘long-range cruise missile’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
North Korea conducts the test firing of a reported new type of long-range cruise missile. KCNA

NK test-fires new ‘long-range cruise missile’

North Korea test-fired a new “long-range cruise missile” over the weekend, state media reported on September 13, calling it a “strategic weapon of great significance” amid a long standoff with the US over its nuclear programme.

Pictures in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed a missile exiting one of five tubes on a launch vehicle in a ball of flame, and a missile in horizontal flight.

Such a weapon would represent a marked advance in the North’s weapons technology, analysts said, better able to avoid defence systems to deliver a warhead across the South or Japan.

The test launches took place on September 11-12, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The missiles travelled 1,500km flight paths – including figure-of-8 patterns – above North Korea and its territorial waters to hit their targets, according to KCNA.

Its report called the missile a “strategic weapon of great significance”, adding that the tests were successful and it gave the country “another effective deterrence means” against “hostile forces”.

The North is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which it says it needs to defend against a US invasion.

But Pyongyang is not banned from developing cruise missiles, which it has tested previously.

As described, the missile “poses a considerable threat”, Park Won-gon, professor of North Korean Studies at Ewha Womans University, told AFP.

“If the North has sufficiently miniaturised a nuclear warhead, it can be loaded onto a cruise missile as well,” Park said. “It’s very likely that there will be more tests for the development of various weapons systems.”

The launch was a response to joint South Korea-US military drills last month, he said.

But Chinese State Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi is due in Seoul on September 14 and Park added: “By choosing cruise missiles, North Korea is trying not to provoke the US and the China too much.”

Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute for International Studies tweeted that the reported missiles would be capable of delivering a warhead against targets “throughout South Korea and Japan”.

“An intermediate-range land-attack cruise missile is a pretty serious capability for North Korea,” he said. “This is another system that is designed to fly under missile defense radars or around them.”

The South’s military – normally the first source of information on the North’s missile test – had made no announcement of any launches over the weekend.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told AFP: “Our military is conducting a detailed analysis under close cooperation between the South Korean and US intelligence agencies.”

The Pentagon did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The reported launches are the first since March by the North, which has not carried out a nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile launch since 2017.

They came days after a scaled-back parade in Pyongyang to mark the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding.

Nuclear talks with the US have been stalled since the collapse of a 2019 summit in Hanoi between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then-president Donald Trump over sanctions relief – and what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in return.

Current US President Joe Biden’s North Korea envoy, Sung Kim, has repeatedly expressed his willingness to meet his Pyongyang counterparts “anywhere, at any time”.

But the impoverished North has never shown any indication it would be willing to surrender its nuclear arsenal, and has rebuffed South Korean efforts to revive dialogue.

Last month, the UN atomic agency (IAEA) said Pyongyang appeared to have started its plutonium-producing reprocessing reactor at Yongbyon, calling it a “deeply troubling” development.

Kim’s sister and key adviser Kim Yo-jong also demanded the withdrawal of US troops from the peninsula.

Last week, South Korea tested a homegrown submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) – a technology the North has long sought to develop.

The North showed off four such devices at a military parade overseen by Kim in January, with KCNA calling them “the world’s most powerful weapon”.

North Korea has released pictures of underwater launches, most recently in 2019.

But analysts believe that was from a fixed platform or submersible barge, rather than a submarine.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42