(CNN)North Korea claims it successfully test-fired new long-range cruise missiles over the weekend, according to the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The report, dated Monday, says the country’s Academy of Defense Science successfully test-fired the missiles on September 11 and 12, and that the weapons had been in development for two years. Multiple UN Security Council resolutions have expressed concern about North Korea’s ballistic missile program. However, such resolutions have not focused on the development or testing of cruise missiles. Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines. Much like an airplane, they stay closer to the ground, making them harder to detect.According to KCNA, the new missiles traveled for 7,580 seconds along oval and figure-eight flight orbits in the air above the territorial land and waters of North Korea and hit targets 1,500 kilometers away.Read MoreThe missiles offer “another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military maneuvers of the hostile forces against the DPRK,” the agency said.The military in neighboring South Korea is investigating the reported launch, a South Korean Defense Ministry official told CNN.”Cruise missiles are often detected after the tests are conducted for their low flight altitudes. North Korea had conducted two cruise missile tests already this year, but we did not disclose them as we do not disclose all cruise missile tests we detect,” the official added.The launch announcement comes just as South Korea’s top nuclear envoy heads to Japan to discuss North Korea with US and Japanese officials on Monday and Tuesday. North Korea carried out at least two test launches earlier this year, and they were widely seen as attempts to send a message to the Biden administration about the isolated country’s importance in the region. The United States has not commented on the latest reported launch.This is a developing story.