North Korea tests 1,500km new long-range cruise missile capable of hitting much of Japan

North Korea tested a new long-range cruise missile capable of hitting much of Japan, state media reported on Monday.

Tests staged over the weekend saw missiles travelling as far as 1,500km away, according to KCNA.

It suggests the country is still capable of developing weapons despite food shortages and an economic crisis.

The test of the cruise missile provides “strategic significance of possessing another effective deterrence means for more reliably guaranteeing the security of our state and strongly containing the military manoeuvres of the hostile forces,” KCNA said.

The US military said the test showed North Korea’s “continuing focus on developing its military programme and the threats that poses to its neighbours and the international community”.

It added that US commitment to defending allies South Korea and Japan “remains ironclad”.

South Korea’s military said it was doing an in-depth analysis of the launches with US intelligence authorities, according to news agency Yonhap.

Top-level officials from the US, South Korea and Japan are due to meet this week to discuss North Korea’s denuclearisation process.

UN Security Council sanctions forbid North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.

The council considers them to be more threatening than cruise missiles because they can carry bigger and more powerful payloads, have a much larger ranger, and can fly faster.

A ballistic missile is powered by a rocket and follows an arc-like ballistic trajectory, while a cruise missile is powered by a jet engine and flies at a lower height.

In March, North Korea defied sanctions and tested testing ballistic missiles, which triggered a strong rebuke from the US, Japan and South Korea.

The latest launch came days after a scaled-down military parade was held in Pyongyang to mark the communist state’s 75th founding anniversary.

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