North Korea Reportedly Tests Long-Range Cruise Missile With Potentially Nuclear Capability
Are you concerned about North Korea's latest missile test?
What’s the story?
- North Korea reportedly tested a long-range cruise missile over the weekend that state media said is “a strategic weapon of great significance” which in this context implies it may be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
- If the long-range cruise missile is in fact nuclear-capable, it would mark a significant step up in North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, which in recent years has featured prominent tests of long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in 2017, along with short-range ballistic missiles and projectiles in 2019, 2020, and March 2021.
- Cruise missiles are slower than ballistic missiles and typically have a shorter range and smaller payload. However, they can have guidance systems which make them harder for missile defense systems to detect and defeat, and have launchers that are easier to conceal than ballistic missiles.
- North Korean state media claimed that the cruise missile has a range that would cover the entirety of the Korean Peninsula and most of the Japanese archipelago: an area that includes numerous U.S. military bases in South Korea and Japan, including Okinawa.
- The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) on Sunday released the following statement about the reported tests:
“We are aware of reports of DPRK cruise missile launches. We will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our allies and partners. 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 U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad.”
- Negotiations with the North Korean regime over its nuclear weapons program are currently at a standstill, and it’s not yet clear whether the latest tests will alter the status quo or result in new sanctions. During the Trump administration, negotiations yielded some pauses in missile tests but fell short of securing a commitment by North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Image via North Korean State Media)
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