North Korea Tests Powerful New Cruise Missile
North Korea has announced the successful test of a new-generation cruise missile, marking another stride in its military advancements. The Pulhwasal-3-31 missile, still in its developmental phase, was described as “strategic,” hinting at potential nuclear weapon integration, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. The test, undisclosed in terms of the number of missiles fired, was stated to have no impact on neighbouring countries’ security or the regional situation.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff detected the launch of “several” cruise missiles from North Korea’s western coast, prompting analysis. The recent tests, including a nuclear-capable underwater attack drone and a solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile, suggest continuous progress in North Korea’s weapons development program. The launch is presumed to involve upgrades to existing missile capabilities.
Amid escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, North Korea’s cruise missiles pose a challenge due to their low altitude and jet-propelled nature, making them harder to detect and intercept than ballistic missiles. The claim of nuclear capability and a range of up to 2,000 kilometres raises concerns for US military bases in Japan. Cruise missile tests remain unrestricted by long-standing UN sanctions.
As North Korea flexes its military capabilities, South Korean special forces conducted a 10-day drill off the east coast, emphasizing readiness for security challenges. Despite the developments, diplomatic efforts and international sanctions persist in addressing the complex situation on the Korean peninsula.