The North Korea state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Monday the country had successfully tested new long-range missiles over the weekend. The agency said the missiles can hit targets 930 miles away.
This is the first known testing of nuclear missiles North Korea has conducted in months. The country ended a yearlong pause in ballistic tests in March by firing two short-range missiles into the sea.
North Korea hailed its new missiles as a “strategic weapon of great significance”, which implies they were developed with the intent to arm them with nuclear warheads. In August, a UN watchdog report warned North Korea may have restarted a nuclear reactor that many believe is used to make plutonium for nuclear weapons.
The country says it needs nuclear weapons to deter what it claims is hostility from the United States and South Korea. U.S. special envoy for North Korea Sung Kim met with Japanese and South Korean officials in Tokyo to discuss ways to break a standoff with the North over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs on Tuesday. The video above shows clips from the meeting.
In a statement, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the country’s military is analyzing the North Korean launches based on U.S. and South Korean intelligence. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said North Korea’s activity reflects a continuing focus on “developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors and the international community.” Japan said it was “extremely concerned.”
The international community has long used a combination of the threat of sanctions and the promise of economic help to try to influence North Korea to abandon its nuclear arsenal.
America’s negotiations with North Korea have been stalled since the collapse of a summit between Leader Kim Jong Un and Former President Donald Trump in 2019. Former President Trump rejected Kim’s demand for major sanctions relief.
Kim’s government has so far rejected the Biden administration’s requests for dialogue demanding that Washington abandon its sanctions and military alliance with South Korea first.