North Korea tests first 'strategic' cruise missile with possible nuclear capability

·1-min read

North Korea has carried out successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile over the weekend, state media has said, seen by analysts as possibly the country's first such weapon with a nuclear capability.

The missiles are "a strategic weapon of great significance" and flew 930 miles (1,500 km) before hitting their targets and falling into the country's territorial waters during the tests on Saturday and Sunday, KCNA said.

It represents the country's first known testing activity in months, underscoring that it continues to expand its military capabilities amid a stalemate in nuclear negotiations with the United States.

North Korea's cruise missiles usually generate less interest than ballistic missiles because they are not explicitly banned under UN Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Watch: North Korea unveils huge new 'missile'

"This would be the first cruise missile in North Korea to be explicitly designated a 'strategic' role," said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow at the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"This is a common euphemism for nuclear-capable system."

It is unclear whether North Korea has mastered the technology needed to build warheads small enough to be carried on a cruise missile, but leader Kim Jong Un said earlier this year that developing smaller bombs is a top goal.

South Korea's military did not disclose whether it had detected the North's latest tests, but said on Monday it was conducting a detailed analysis in co-operation with the US.

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