After the reports that North Korea tested a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend, the US Department of Defense condemned on Sunday Pyongyang’s activities and noted they continue to monitor the situation, The Eurasian Times reports.
Stressing that Washington remains committed to the defense of South Korea and Japan, the Pentagon added that North Korea’s military activity highlights the threats they pose to its neighbors and the international community.
In case a major conflict breaks out, both countries rely on the US military to defend them.
The country’s state Korean Central News Agency reported early Monday that North Korea has successfully test-fired on both Saturday and Sunday a new type of long-range cruise missiles which are not expressly banned under UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on North Korea.
KCNA said that the test launches were observed by high-level officials, adding that the missiles travelled for 7,580 seconds along “oval and pattern-8 flight orbits” above North Korea and its territorial waters, and hit targets 930 miles away.
Several hours later, Pentagon’s Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) issued statement with regard to the tests without confirming or denying the fact of the launch or commenting on the type of weapon Pyongyang claimed to have fired.
These launches were the first since March by the North Korea, days after a scaled-back parade in Pyongyang to mark the 73rd anniversary of the country’s founding, but experts also see them as response to joint South Korea-US military drills last month.
North Korea has not carried out a nuclear test or an intercontinental ballistic missile launch since 2017 but the US Defense Department underscored that the latest launches highlight Pyongyang’s continuing focus on developing its military program.
Park Won-gon, professor of North Korean Studies at Ewha Womans University, said that as described, the missile poses a considerable threat since it can be loaded onto a cruise missile as well if it has sufficiently miniaturised nuclear warhead.