(Bloomberg) — North Korea tested what it billed as newly developed cruise missiles for use in submarines, with leader Kim Jong Un overseeing the launch that came as he has ramped up rhetoric about a potential conflict with the US and South Korea.
Most Read from Bloomberg
Kim supervised the physically testing the new strategic cruise missiles that hit island targets on move to assist his country’s navy deliver a nuclear strike, the information released in the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Monday said that the test took place a day earlier. It released photos showing a missile being launched from the water.
There were no details released regarding the distance traveled by the missiles or whether they were actually launched from a submarine, or an underwater platform. Multiple projectiles were detected around the waters near North Korea’s eastern port of Shinpo, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said previously in a text message to reporters.
North Korea shot fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile in early January capable of hitting US bases in Asia in an initial such launch of 2024, the state’s official media said that it was a “hypersonic” missile, indicating the utilized a reentry vehicle that could carry a nuclear warhead and maneuver at high speeds.
Read: North Korea Test-Fires Its First Ballistic Missile of 2024
After this North Korea fired multiple cruise missiles into waters off of its west coast, and tearing down a monument dedicated to the reunification with South Korea as leader Kim intensified the pressure on his neighbors and transferred weapons to Russia for President Vladimir Putin to use in his war on Ukraine. The arms include artillery shells and ballistic missiles, that the US and South Korea have said that the arms included artillery shells and ballistic missiles. Russia is likely providing technology, key materials and commodities to Kim that could help him expand the economy and increase his military strength.
North Korea and Russia have denied accusations of arms transfers, but satellite imagery since October shows a steady flow of shipping between the two countries likely conducted in territorial waters of the two to avoid international interdiction.
Read more: Ghost Ships at Reawakened North Korea Port Put Ukraine in Peril
Pyongyang shot 30 ballistic missiles and three space rockets in 2023. They included 5 intercontinental ballistic missiles that could hit the US mainland. Kim’s regime launched more than 70 ballistic missiles in 2022, a record for the state.
Although Kim has ignored US calls to return to long-stalled nuclear disarmament talks, which offered Pyongyang economic aid in exchange for disarmament, he has been busy modernizing his arsenal of missiles and conducting tests of systems to attack South Korea and Japan, which he hosts the bulk of the US military personnel in the region.
North Korea in late September enshrined its policy of exponentially growing its nuclear forces into its constitution, with Kim saying he was making the move to counter threats from the US and its partners to stifle Pyongyang’s atomic ambitions and destroy its system.
Although North Korea is barred by United Nations Security Council resolutions from testing ballistic missiles, it faces no such prohibitions on cruise missiles.
Ballistic missiles fly in an arced trajectory at supersonic speeds and are unpowered on descent. Cruise missiles travel typically at low altitudes, and they are maneuverable, making them harder to detect and intercept.
–With assistance from Bill Faries.
(Updates with North Korean state media. A previous version corrected the year of record missile launches.)
Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek
©2024 Bloomberg L.P.