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North Korea test-fires new 'long-range cruise missile' — KCNA

Agence France-Presse
North Korea test-fires new 'long-range cruise missile' â KCNA
FILE - Television screens show file footage of North Korea's missile test as a news programme broadcasts reports about North Korea's suspected ballistic missile test, at an electronics mall in Seoul on March 25, 2021.
AFP / Jung Yeon-je

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has test-fired what it called a new type of "long-range cruise missile" over the weekend, the country's state Korean Central News Agency reported early Monday, amid a long standoff with the United States over denuclearization.

The test launches, which took place on both Saturday and Sunday, were observed by high-level officials, KCNA said, adding that the tests had been carried out "successfully".

The missiles travelled for 7,580 seconds along "oval and pattern-8 flight orbits" above North Korea and its territorial waters, and hit targets 1,500 kilometres (about 930 miles) away, KCNA said.

The report called the missile a "strategic weapon of great significance", adding that "in all, the efficiency and practicality of the weapon system operation was confirmed to be excellent".

It also said the development of the missile system held "strategic significance", giving North Korea "another effective deterrence means" for protecting the state and aiding in "strongly containing the military maneuvers of the hostile forces".

The Pentagon did not immediately reply to a request for comment about the reported test launches, which came just a few days after a scaled-back parade in Pyongyang to mark the 73rd anniversary of the country's founding.

The North normally showcases missiles — whether real or models — at such parades, but this time, the biggest weapons on display were artillery pieces dragged by tractors.

The weekend missile test launches are the first by North Korea since March.

Pyongyang has not carried out a nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile launch since 2017.

Standstill

Pyongyang is under a range of international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which it continues to pursue. 

Nuclear talks with the United States 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, and Kim's sister and key adviser Kim Yo Jong demanded the withdrawal of US troops from the peninsula.

Last week, South Korea tested a homegrown submarine-launched ballistic missile — 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". 

But while North Korea has released pictures of underwater launches, most recently in 2019, analysts believe that was from a fixed platform or submersible barge, rather than a submarine.

NORTH KOREA NUCLEAR POWER
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 16, 2021 - 10:55am

South Korean officials were briefing the White House Thursday on the outcome of their pathfinding meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Seoul has already publicized that North Korea offered talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties, a potential diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the North's nuclear and missile tests. The rival Koreas also agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April.

Top Trump administration officials were getting a chance to hear firsthand from South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, who led the delegation that went to Pyongyang. — Associated Press

September 16, 2021 - 10:55am

The UN Security Council on Wednesday gathered behind closed doors for an emergency meeting about North Korea's latest ballistic missile test which member states consider a "major threat," the French ambassador says.

"We all condemned what happened, the tests," he says. "Everyone is very concerned about this situation," de Riviere told several journalists after the 45-minute meeting. 

"This is a major threat to peace and security, it's a clear violation of the Council's resolutions," he adds, saying that the missiles had fallen "within Japan's exclusive economic zone." — AFP

September 15, 2021 - 2:55pm

According to the South's military, the North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea as China's foreign minister visited Seoul -- Pyongyang's second launch in less than a week.

Analysts said the timing was an unmistakable signal to Beijing, the North's key diplomatic ally and main partner for trade and aid -- although at times their relationship has been deeply strained.

Pyongyang is under a self-imposed blockade after closing its borders early last year to protect itself against the coronavirus pandemic. — AFP

September 15, 2021 - 12:02pm

North Korea fired an unidentified projectile into the sea on Wednesday, according to the South's military, days after Pyongyang said it had successfully tested new long-range cruise missiles.

The nuclear-armed North had "fired an unidentified projectile into the East Sea", Seoul's joint chiefs of staff says in a statement to AFP. — AFP

September 13, 2021 - 9:53am

The United States military said Sunday missile tests conducted by North Korea over the weekend posed 'threats' to the country's neighbors and beyond. 

"This activity highlights DPRK's continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors and the international community," the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement, using the North's official name. — AFP

September 13, 2021 - 7:24am

North Korea has test-fired what it called a new type of "long-range cruise missile" over the weekend, the country's state Korean Central News Agency reported early Monday, calling the trials a success.

The test launches, which took place on both Saturday and Sunday, were observed by high-level officials, KCNA said, adding that the tests had been carried out "successfully". — AFP

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