North Korea launches new test “long-range cruise missile”

Associated Press

Image of a missile launch test in North Korea in August 2019.

NORTH KOREA – North Korea successfully carried out test fires of a new “long-range cruise missile” over the weekend, its first missile hits since March, the official KCNA news agency reported this week. Sunday 12 September.

Its last shots, in March in the Sea of ​​Japan, in violation of UN resolutions, had been interpreted as a sign of challenge to the administration of US President Joe Biden, in place since January.

The new test shots on Saturday and Sunday were attended by senior North Korean officials, according to the agency, which says the tests were successful.

The missiles traveled a trajectory of 1500 kilometers, before reaching their target, not specified by KCNA, which celebrates “strategic weapons of great importance”.

“The efficiency of this weapon system has confirmed its excellence”, praises the official agency, celebrating a “deterrent weapon” intended to “counter the military maneuvers of hostile forces”.

The announcement comes days after South Korea announced a test launch of a strategic sea-to-surface ballistic missile (MSBS) of its own manufacture.

North Korea had nevertheless given signs of goodwill, with last week a parade of tractors and fire trucks rather than the usual tanks and missiles, for its third parade in less than a year, at the occasion of the anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of the northern peninsula.

Contradicted signs of goodwill

Pyongyang has used military parades on several occasions in the past to send messages abroad and to its own people, usually on certain birthdays.

Several United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from continuing its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

But, although hit by multiple international sanctions, this country has rapidly developed its military capabilities in recent years under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has carried out several nuclear tests and successfully tested ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Nuclear talks with Washington have been suspended since the failure of the Hanoi summit in February 2019 between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump.

Current US President Joe Biden’s representative for North Korea has repeatedly expressed his willingness to meet his North Korean counterparts “anywhere, anytime”.

The Biden administration has promised a “practical, calibrated approach,” with diplomatic efforts to induce Pyongyang to abandon its weapons program, which North Korea has never shown itself ready for.

At the end of August, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reported “signs” indicating that North Korea seemed to have restarted its reactor producing plutonium in the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

The IAEA had considered the signs of reactor operation to be “deeply disturbing”.

See also on The HuffPost: In North Korea, Kim Jong Un’s wife reappears after a year of absence

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