North Korea announced on Monday that its military had successfully tested long-range cruise missiles with the ability to strike a target more than 900 miles away.
“The missiles flew for over two hours, according to the report,” the report said.
“The development of a long-range cruise missile could pose additional challenges for South Korea’s missile defenses,” Dempsey said.
He said that a “cruise missile doesn’t have to follow a straight trajectory. Its flight plan may be programmed to avoid defenses or use terrain to reduce detection, but we still don’t know exactly how the North Korean version navigates.”
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that unlike previous launches by North Korea, the latest missile test did not fly over Japan.
But if the missile can fly as far as North Korea reported, he said, “it would be a major concern for us,” according to NBC News.
The missile test follows an August report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that said North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium for nuclear weapons.
“Since early July 2021, there have been indications consistent with the operation of the 5MW(e) reactor,” the IAEA report said.
“The DPRK’s nuclear activities continue to be a cause for serious concern,” the report said. “Furthermore, the new indications of the operation of the 5MW(e) reactor and the Radiochemical Laboratory are deeply troubling.
“The continuation of the DPRK’s nuclear programme is a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable.”
In its annual report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said North Korea appeared to have restarted a nuclear reactor believed to have produced plutonium for the country’s nuclear arsenal https://t.co/gBSeRiJkyv pic.twitter.com/en4cotUcD9
— Reuters (@Reuters) August 30, 2021
“Yongbyon, a nuclear complex at the heart of North Korea’s nuclear programme,” is the location of the reactor, Reuters reported Monday.
“More plutonium could help North Korea make smaller nuclear weapons to fit on its ballistic missiles, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security,” the report said.
“It appears to indicate North Korea has resumed producing plutonium for its nuclear weapons program,” said Gary Samore, director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“While North Korea already has a significant stockpile of nuclear weapons,” Samore added.
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