North Korea has conducted its first missile test in about six months. The long-range cruise missile being tested could give Pyongyang another way to evade its neighbors’ missile defenses, according to a BBC report.
North Korean cruise missile are certainly claiming to have a new cruise missile with a range and look similar to the Chinese CJ-10 missile.
According to a report from CCTV Military, a cruise missile unit of the Chinese Rocket Force used CJ-10 cruise missiles (i.e. Changjian-10, also known as DH-10) recently to carry out precision strikes on important targets in a continuous fire assault. The CJ-10 and CJ-100 (also known as DF-100) is based on CJ-10A is a subsonic cruise missile, while CJ-100 is a supersonic cruise missile.
The CJ-10 (simplified Chinese: Cháng Jiàn 10, in English “long sword 10”) is a second-generation Chinese ground-launched land-attack cruise missile. It is reportedly manufactured by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Third Academy and the China Haiying Electro-Mechanical Technology Academy.
The “newly-developed long-range cruise missiles” flew 1,500 kilometers over North Korean territory before successfully hitting their targets, North Korean state media reported Monday.
The reports did not say how many missiles were tested, but said the tests occurred Saturday and Sunday.
Pictures posted in North Korean state media showed one of the cruise missiles being fired from a five-canister, road-mobile launcher that appeared to be parked on a highway.
Several analysts said the missile appeared visually similar to the U.S. Tomahawk, a nuclear-capable cruise missile with a range of about 1,600 kilometers.
The cruise missile test appears to be less provocative than a long-range or intercontinental ballistic missile launch, which would involve technology that could target the mainland United States.
But the launch will still serve as a test for U.S. President Joe Biden, who has said he is open to both diplomacy and additional economic pressure on North Korea.
In a statement, the U.S. military said it was aware of the reported launches and is monitoring and consulting closely with its 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 statement read.
It is North Korea’s first known missile launch since March, when it also appeared to test cruise missile technology. That test was only confirmed by U.S. officials after the first reports of the test appeared in The Washington Post.
Cruise missiles are harder to detect than the ballistic missiles typically launched by North Korea, since they fly at a relatively low altitude and can be controlled in-flight.
North Korean state media referred to the cruise missiles as “strategic,” implying a nuclear capability. Some defense experts are not sure whether that statement reflects current or eventual capabilities.
A range of 1,500 kilometers would mean that the new North Korean cruise missiles could reach all of South Korea and most of Japan.
The Biden administration has repeatedly said it is open to resuming talks with North Korea, but for now North Korea’s focus appears elsewhere.
For the past year and a half, North Korea has imposed a strict pandemic lockdown, sealing its borders, cutting imports, and restricting domestic travel.
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