North Korea says it tested a new strategic cruise missile

North Korea tested a new "strategic cruise missile," state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday. Photo courtesy of KCNA
North Korea tested a new "strategic cruise missile," state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday. Photo courtesy of KCNA

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- North Korea launched a "new-type strategic cruise missile" for the first time, its state media reported Thursday, the latest in a string of weapons tests by the isolated nation as it continues to upgrade its arsenal.

The new missile, which was fired on Wednesday, is named Pulhwasal-3-31 and is still under development, according to a report in state-run Korean Central News Agency. The term "strategic" is generally believed by analysts to indicate that the missile is a nuclear-capable weapon.


"The test-fire had no impact on the security of neighboring countries and has nothing to do with the regional situation," the KCNA report said.

"[It] is a process of constant updating of the weapons system and a regular and obligatory activity," KCNA quoted the North's Missile Administration as saying.

The report did not provide details, such as how many missiles were fired or how far they flew.

South Korea's military said Wednesday it had detected the launch of "several" cruise missiles into the Yellow Sea.

The launch is the latest provocation from Pyongyang, which has used weapons tests and heated rhetoric to keep tensions on the Korean Peninsula at their highest in years.


In recent weeks, the North unveiled an underwater drone it claims is capable of detonating a nuclear weapon and launched a new solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile with a hypersonic warhead.

Pyongyang also fired hundreds of artillery rounds near the de facto maritime boundary between the two countries, prompting evacuation orders on a pair of South Korean islands.

After the cruise missile launch Wednesday, a U.S. State Department spokesman called for North Korea to "refrain from further provocative, destabilizing actions and return to diplomacy."

"We are eager to engage in substantive discussions on identifying ways to not just manage military risk but create lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, as well as our continued stated goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said at a press briefing.

Pyongyang has increasingly signaled that it has no intention of engaging diplomatically with Washington or Seoul, however, as it strengthens ties with former Cold War ally Russia.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently called for changing the North's constitution to define South Korea as its "primary enemy state and invariable principal enemy" and rejected a longstanding official policy goal of peaceful reunification.


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