North Korea Tests New Strategic Cruise Missile

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.25 - 2024 9:43 AM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
North Korea Tests New Strategic Cruise Missile.

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North Korea announced the testing of its new strategic cruise missile, "Pulhwasal-3-31," on Wednesday, as reported by the state news agency KCNA on Thursday according to ABC. This confirmation comes after South Korea's military detected the launch.

The North Korean state media emphasized that the missile is still under development and the test did not pose a threat to the security of neighboring countries. They also stated that the test was unrelated to the current regional situation.

The launch was part of North Korea's ongoing efforts to update its weapons system, according to the country's Missile Administration.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff described the launch as an attempt to enhance the capabilities of existing missiles. Defense Minister Shin Won-sik of South Korea labeled the missile launches as a significant threat to national security.

In response to these developments, South Korea announced it is initiating mass production of medium-altitude reconnaissance drones. Set to be operational by 2027, these drones aim to bolster surveillance capabilities and contribute to defense exports.

The term "strategic" often implies nuclear capability, raising concerns. North Korea's first test of a cruise missile with potential nuclear capabilities was conducted in September 2021.

Cruise missiles, like the ones tested by North Korea, typically attract less attention than ballistic missiles, as they are not explicitly banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions. However, experts warn that medium-range land-attack cruise missiles are equally threatening as ballistic missiles, posing a significant risk for North Korea's arsenal.

The ambiguity of cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles, which can be armed with either conventional or nuclear warheads, adds to the instability in the event of a conflict, as it remains unclear what type of warhead they carry.

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