North Korea said it had conducted tests of its new strategic cruise missile, the North Korean state news agency KCNA reported on Jan. 25, confirming what the South Korean military said a day earlier.
North Korea, which continues to expand its military capabilities, conducted the test on Jan. 24. Earlier this month, Pyongyang already tested the underwater nuclear weapon Haeil-5-23 and a middle-range ballistic missile with a hypersonic-guided warhead.
North Korea has allegedly become Russia’s top weapons supplier, fueling Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Pyongyang has allegedly sent Moscow more than 1 million artillery rounds and appears to provide Moscow with ballistic missiles to attack Ukrainian cities.
The latest report says that the name of the new cruise missile is Pulhwasal-3-31. The details, such as how far the missile flew, were not provided, but the KCNA noted that Pulhwasal-3-31 is still in its "development phase."
According to the news agency, the launching of Pulhwasal-3-31 is part of the state's weapon system update, and it has "nothing" to do with the regional situation.
Concerned about the North Korean threat, the U.S., Japan, and South Korea have begun tightening their cooperation.
Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Jan. 24 that North Korea launched "several" cruise missiles toward the Yellow Sea at 7 a.m. local time, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported.
It was the first North Korean known cruise missile launch since September last year, when tests of two long-range strategic cruise missiles with mock nuclear warheads were conducted. According to Pyongyang, missiles traveled 1,500-kilometers-long eight-shaped flight orbits.
The first tests of North Korean cruise missiles with possible nuclear strike capabilities took place in September 2021, when Hwasal-1 and Hwasal-2 were launched.