|In North Korea, the Academy of National Defense Science conducts long-range cruise missile testing. (Photo courtesy of REUTERS)|
North Korean missile launches over the weekend, according to the US military, presented ‘threats’ to the country’s neighbours and beyond.
“This action underscores DPRK’s continued emphasis on expanding its military program, as well as the risks it presents to its neighbours and the international community,” the US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement.
On Monday morning local time, North Korean official media announced that the nation had tested a new “far-range cruise missile” on Saturday and Sunday, amid a lengthy stalemate with the US over its nuclear program.
According to the official Korean Central News Agency, the missiles flew 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) above North Korea’s territorial seas, including figure-of-8 patterns, to reach their objectives.
The missile was described as a “strategic weapon of enormous significance” in the report, which also stated that the tests were successful and that the missile provided the country with “another powerful deterrent tool” against “hostile forces.”
International sanctions have been imposed on North Korea for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which it claims are necessary to protect against a US invasion.
Pyongyang, on the other hand, is not prohibited from manufacturing cruise missiles, which it has already tested.
According to a statement from the US Indo-Pacific Command, the US will “continue to monitor the situation and communicate closely with our friends and partners.”
It reaffirmed the US’ “ironclad commitment to the protection” of North Korea’s neighbours, South Korea and Japan.
Seoul and Washington are treaty allies, with around 28,500 US soldiers stationed in South Korea to defend the country against its neighbour, who invaded it in 1950.
The alleged launches are the North’s first since March when it last conducted a nuclear test or launched an intercontinental ballistic missile.