Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

North Korea says missile launch a new type of 'cruise rocket'

North Korea says missile launch a new type of 'cruise rocket'

"The launched cruise rockets accurately detected and hit the floating targets on the East Sea of Korea", KCNA said, referring to the Sea of Japan - where two U.S. aircraft carriers were on naval manoeuvres last week.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency said: "This new-type cruise rocket is a powerful attack means capable of striking any enemy group of battleships", adding it can be used "at will".

The missiles are the fourth new designs to be launched this year - and not all were successful.

It's been confirmed that a joint event between South and North Korean civic groups commemorating the landmark June 15 Declaration will not be going ahead.

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But North Korea, with it's incessant nuclear provocations and near-weekly missile tests, functions as a giant bullseye to the USA, though any military confrontation runs a high risk of going nuclear and killing hundreds of thousands, if not more.

Unlike previous tests, the Thursday's test did not violate the United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang, which only prohibit launches of ballistic missiles.

The launch followed the departure of the US aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan from the region after conducting joint exercises with allies South Korea and Japan.

The Pentagon fired the mock ICBM-class missile last Wednesday from a test range on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, while the Pentagon Missile Defense Agency launched the interceptor from an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

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South Korea's government says it has no plans to fundamentally change its agreement with the USA regarding the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system. The advantage may be marginal against the superior capabilities of South Korea and the United States, but it represents a significant benefit over a similar point defense system or even a non-integrated mobile launcher.

The United Nations reported previous year that the North has around 300 drones, although other reports suggest that North Korea could have as many as 1,000 drones in its arsenal. The test may have been meant to send a threatening message to the United States, which has two carrier strike groups in the waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan, with a third carrier group now being sent to the region.

The system is a new integrated coastal defense cruise missile (CDCM) launcher with four canisters for what may be an iterative improvement on the Kumsong-3, North Korea's anti-ship cruise missile system that was first seen publicly in 2014 and is a variant of Russia's Zvedza Kh-35 anti-ship cruise missile.

The North's missile tests present a hard challenge to new South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has expressed a desire to reach out to the North. "Especially because he explicitly said South Koreans should pay for Thaad deployment which annoyed a lot of people here", Mr Lankov said, referring to the president's threat to make Seoul foot the billion-dollar bill.

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