North Korea tests new long-range missiles over weekend: KCNA
North Korea tested new long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, its state media outlet said Monday morning as it claimed the tests were a success.
Calling the missiles "a strategic weapon of great significance," the reclusive regime's Korea Central New Agency (KCNA) said the missiles were tested on Saturday and Sunday and flew 1,500 kilometers (932 miles).
The missiles traveled for 7,580 seconds along oval and pattern-8 flight orbits, hitting their intended targets within the country's territorial waters, KCNA said.
The news agency's report made no secret of Pyongyang's target audience in conducting the tests — the United States and South Korea — as it described the missiles as a "core project" and "special interest" of the North's ruling Workers' Party.
"[The missiles] have special significance as it represents another effective deterrent to ensure the safety of our country and strongly suppress the anti-Republican military agitation," the agency said.
South Korean and U.S. military authorities reportedly failed to detect the missiles before the KCNA's report, according to a government official who spoke on Monday to the JoongAng Ilbo on the condition of anonymity.
"On this occasion, we not only failed to detect the test before it happened but also after," the official admitted. "Both the government and military authorities are in shock."
The official added that neither South Korean nor U.S. military authorities are certain of the missiles' trajectory or where exactly they landed in the sea.
Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers' Party, published photos of one of the the new long-range cruise missiles at the moment it was fired from a transporter erector launcher, a mobile launch vehicle.
Although North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un was not mentioned in reports as being in attendance during the tests, the KCNA said that Pak Jong-chon, secretary of the party's central committee and a member of the Politburo, oversaw the launches.
The tests are Pyongyang's first disclosed missile launches after the regime launched a tactical short-range ballistic missile in March. The North previously fired a cruise missile in January, only a few hours after U.S. President Joe Biden took office.
BY MICHAEL LEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]