SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea says it successfully fired what it called a newly developed long-range cruise missile over the weekend in nuclear negotiations with the US.
Korea’s Central News Agency said Monday that the cruise missiles, which have been in development for two years, had successfully hit targets 1,500 kilometers away during their flight tests on Saturday and Sunday. The North praised its new missiles as “a strategic weapon of great importance,” in line with President Kim Jong Un’s call for a strengthening of the country’s military power.
The South Korean military did not immediately confirm the North Korean tests.
Kim doubled his pledge to step up his nuclear deterrence in the face of U.S. sanctions and pressure during a ruling Labor Party congress in January, and posted a long wish list of new sophisticated assets, including longer-range ballistic ICBMs, nuclear-powered underground vehicles. Boats, spy satellites and tactical nuclear weapons.
Talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled since the failure of a summit between then-President Donald Trump and Kim in 2019 when the Americans rejected the North’s call for extensive sanctions against a partial abandonment of its nuclear capacities. Kim’s government has so far rejected the Biden government’s offers of dialogue and demands that Washington first give up its “hostile” policies.
North Korea ended a year-long ballistic test hiatus in March by launching two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea.
But there were no known test starts months after that as Kim focused on national efforts to fight off the coronavirus and save a tattered economy that was further damaged by the pandemic border closings.
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