North Korea Confirms Testing New Cruise Missile with Nuclear Capability

North Korea Confirms Testing New Cruise Missile with Nuclear Capability

Korean Central News Agency announces the development phase of the Pulhwasal-3-31 cruise missile.

North Korea has officially acknowledged the testing of its latest-generation cruise missile, indicating a continued expansion of its military capabilities.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday that the Pulhwasal-3-31 missile is currently in its development phase and labeled it as “strategic,” hinting at potential nuclear armament.

The number of missiles fired was not specified by KCNA, which emphasized that the test had no impact on the security of neighboring countries and was unrelated to the regional situation.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) had detected the launch of “several” cruise missiles from North Korea’s western coast on Wednesday morning. The JCS is analyzing the launch, following the recent tests of a nuclear-capable underwater attack drone on January 19 and Pyongyang’s first solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile five days earlier.

North Korea Missile testing

The JCS suggested that the recent launch may be a test of upgrades to existing missile capabilities. North Korea had conducted its first test of a strategic cruise missile in September 2021.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have escalated in recent months as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to advance his weapons development program and issue provocative threats of nuclear conflict with the United States and its allies in the region.

North Korea’s cruise missiles, known for their jet propulsion and lower altitude flight, pose a challenge in terms of detection and interception compared to ballistic missiles. They form part of North Korea’s growing arsenal designed to overwhelm missile defenses in South Korea and Japan. North Korea claims these missiles are nuclear-capable with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles), potentially reaching US military bases in Japan.

Cruise missile tests remain unrestricted under long-standing United Nations sanctions imposed over North Korea’s nuclear program.

The latest launch coincided with a 10-day drill by South Korean special forces off the country’s east coast, conducted “in light of serious security situations” with North Korea. The exercise concludes on Thursday, according to the South’s navy, with the drill’s commander expressing confidence in achieving their mission to infiltrate enemy territory and neutralize threats under any circumstances.

Also Read: IDF Reveals Iron Sting: New Weaponry in Action Against Hamas.

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