The United States has been informed about North Korea’s most recent missile test and considers such activity to be a threat to the international community, the Pentagon said.
In the early hours of Monday, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that North Korea tested a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend.
“We are aware of reports of DPRK cruise missile launches. We will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our allies and partners,” the US Department of Defense said on Sunday.
The Pentagon added that North Korea’s military activity highlights the “threats they pose to its neighbors and the international community” and said that Washington remains committed to the defense of South Korea and Japan.
North Korea test-fired the new missiles on Saturday and Sunday, according to KCNA. The launched long-range cruise missiles flew 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) before hitting the targets.
“Detailed tests of missile parts, scores of engine ground thrust tests, various flight tests, control and guidance tests, warhead power tests, etc. were conducted with success,” KCNA explained, as quoted by Yonhap on Monday.
KCNA said that the test-firing was successful and was the result of two years of preparatory work and research. The weekend tests of the long-range cruise missiles were observed by senior North Korean officials.
Earlier in September, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) chief Glen VanHerck said that the United States is aware of a watchdog report concerning North Korea’s resumption of nuclear development activities and stands ready to defend against any potential threats from Pyongyang.
“United States Northern Command and NORAD stand ready to provide our mission capabilities; for NORAD that’s threat warning and attack assessment, for NORTHCOM [that’s] ballistic missile defense capability,” VanHerck said when asked to react to North Korea’s decision to restart nuclear reactors.
“I’m confident in our capabilities. I’m aware of the report that you’re talking about. That does not change my posture. We continue to be ready to respond should North Korea elect to launch a missile.”
On August 30, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published a report showing that North Korea resumed the July operation of its 5MW nuclear reactor for producing plutonium in the Yongbyon complex.
The IAEA registered signs of the reactor’s activity, including the discharge of cooling water, despite North Korea’s promise in 2018 to dismantle all nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.