North Korea has successfully tested its newly developed long-range cruise missile. The reclusive country's state-run media reported that the new missiles, which were developed over the past two years, were tested over the weekend.
The Korean Central News Agency said Monday that the nation's new cruise missiles were able to hit targets more than 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) away during several test launches over the weekend. The news agency called the new missiles North Korea's "strategic weapon of great significance."
"The test launches showed that the technical indices such as the thrust power of the newly developed turbine-blast engine, the missiles' navigation control, and the end guided hit accuracy by the combined guided mode met the requirements of designs," KCNA reported.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un was reportedly not present to observe the test. KCNA said top military officials were there to observe the test, which included a 126-minute flight of one rocket that traveled through land and water before hitting its target.
The test launch of the missiles is reportedly part of Kim's call to further strengthen the nation's military capabilities. Experts said the country may be intending to arm the new long-range missiles with nuclear warheads.
Earlier in the year, Kim committed to further strengthening the country's nuclear capabilities amid increased international sanctions and military pressure. During a congress of the ruling Workers' Party, Kim said he wants North Korea to have better long-range targeting capabilities. He also committed to developing other advanced weaponry, including new nuclear-powered submarines, nuclear warheads, and spy satellites.
Kim said the development of the new weapons will be necessary so the country can defend itself against U.S. and South Korean "hostility." North Korea has used recently conducted military exercises as an excuse to further develop its defenses and strike capabilities.
Political analysts said North Korea's latest weapons test is likely its way of gauging international response, particularly from the Biden administration. North Korea has so far failed to leverage its nuclear capabilities to gain economic benefits. The last time the country conducted tests was in March after it fired two short-range missiles into the sea.
Talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled since 2019 when Trump met Kim at a summit. During those talks, the U.S. did not agree to cease sanctions in exchange for a partial denuclearization.