North Korea made a truly chilling announcement on Monday when the hermit kingdom revealed that it tested newly developed long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. This is the first known testing activity by North Korea in months, and it shows that the country is still expanding its military capabilities in the wake of nuclear negotiations with the United States stalling.
The Associated Press reported that the state-run Korean Central News Agency claimed that the missiles showed they can hit targets 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away on Saturday and Sunday. Photos were published by the news agency showing a projectile being fired from a launcher truck and what appears to be a missile traveling in the air.
KCNA claimed that the missiles that were tested traveled for 126 minutes above North Korean territory before hitting their targets.
“In all, the efficiency and practicality of the weapon system operation was confirmed to be excellent,” the news agency said.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato spoke out to say that North Korean missiles that could travel this range would pose a “serious threat to the peace and safety of Japan and its surrounding areas.” He added that while Japan is working with the U.S. and South Korea to get more information about these tests, there are no indications at this time that the weapons reached inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
North Korea boasted about the missiles as a “strategic weapon of great significance.” This wording is particularly worrying to experts, as it implies they were developed by North Korea with the intent to arm them with nuclear warheads.
North Korea has long claimed that it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from what it alleges is hostility from the U.S. and South Korea. The hermit kingdom has tried to use the threat of nuclear warfare to apply pressure and get things like much-needed economic aid.
The international community has been trying for years to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal, but U.S.-led negotiations with the hermit kingdom have been stalled since the 2019 collapse of a summit between then-President Donald Trump and dictator Kim Jong Un. Negotiations broke down when Trump rejected Kim’s demand for major sanctions relief in exchange for dismantling an aging nuclear complex.
Kim Yo Jong, the dictator’s powerful sister, made it clear last month that North Korea was ready to resume weapons testing as she slammed the United States and South Korea for continuing their joint military exercises, which she said was the “most vivid expression of U.S. hostile policy.”
It’s truly terrifying that North Korea is continuing to make progress when it comes to its nuclear arsenal. If something isn’t done to get the hermit kingdom in check soon, the entire world may soon be paying for it.