1:47 PM | September 16, 2021

Last week, Pyongyang announced it had successfully tested a new long-range cruise missile that was described by the North Korean media as a “strategic weapon of great significance”.

When launching ballistic missiles on Wednesday, Pyongyang tested a new missile system designed to counter any force that threatens the country, the state-run news agency KCNA has cited North Korean marshal Pak Jong-chon as saying.

“The railway-borne missile system serves as an efficient counter-strike means capable of dealing a harsh multi-concurrent blow to threat-posing forces”, Pak Jong-chon, who is also a member of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, pointed out.

The marshal also referred to the North Korean military’s plans to expand the railway-borne missile regiment to a brigade-size force in the immediate future, and to conduct drills to gain “operational experience for actual war”.

The remarks came after KCNA reported that yesterday’s missiles flew 800 km (497 miles) before hitting a target in the sea off North Korea‘s east coast.

South Korea and Japan, in turn, said that they had detected the launch of two ballistic missiles from North Korea, which Seoul argued were fired from the central inland area of Yangdok.

This followed Pyongyang announcing last week it had successfully tested a new long-range cruise missile that is reportedly capable of hitting targets located about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) away from the country.

Referring to the test, North Korea analyst Ankit Panda tweeted that the weapon is the DPRK’s first long-range cruise missile that could possibly carry a nuclear warhead.

The claims came as KCNA reported that “the development of the long-range cruise missile, a strategic weapon of great significance […] has been pushed forward according to the scientific and reliable weapon system development process for the past two years”.

The US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) later asserted that Pyongyang’s missile activity “highlights [the] DPRK’s continuing focus on developing its military programme and the threats that [it] poses to its neighbours and the international community”.

The developments were preceded by a military parade in North Korea on 9 September to mark the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding, an event that featured mechanised paramilitary units, rocket launchers, and anti-tank weapons. According to KCNA, no nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles were showcased at the parade.

The parade followed a leaked United Nations report claiming that North Korea intended to spend the first six months of 2021 developing its nuclear and ballistic missile programme.

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