Chattanooga Times Free Press

North Korea says it tested long-range cruise missiles over the weekend


SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said it successful­ly test fired what it described as newly developed longrange cruise missiles over the weekend, its first known testing activity in months that underscore­d how it continues to expand its military capabiliti­es amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiatio­ns with the United States.

The Korean Central News Agency said Monday the cruise missiles, which had been under developmen­t for two years, successful­ly hit targets 932 miles away during its flight tests Saturday and Sunday. The North hailed its new missiles as a “strategic weapon of great significan­ce” that meets leader Kim Jong Un’s call to strengthen the country’s military might.

The South Korean military didn’t immediatel­y confirm the North Korean tests.

Kim during a congress of the ruling Workers’ Party in January doubled down on his pledge to bolster his nuclear deterrent in the face of U.S. sanctions and pressure and issued a long wish list of new sophistica­ted assets, including longer-range interconti­nental ballistic missiles, nuclearpow­ered submarines, spy satellites and tactical nuclear weapons.

Talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled since the collapse of a summit between then-President Donald Trump and Kim in 2019, when the Americans rejected the North’s demand for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabiliti­es. Kim’s government has so far rejected the Biden administra­tion’s overtures for dialogue, demanding that Washington abandon its “hostile” policies first.

North Korea ended a yearlong pause in ballistic tests in March by firing two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea, continuing a tradition of testing new U.S. administra­tions with weapons demonstrat­ions aimed at measuring Washington’s response and wresting concession­s.

But there hadn’t been any known test launches for months after that as Kim focused national efforts on fending off the coronaviru­s and salvaging a broken economy damaged further by pandemic border closures.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States