(ATTN: ADDS more info in para 2, from 5th para, photo)
By Koh Byung-joon
SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has successfully test-fired a new type of long-range cruise missile over the weekend, state media reported Monday, a low-level provocation amid stalled talks with the United States.
The test-firings, which took place Saturday and Sunday without leader Kim Jong-un in attendance, came right after the North held a scaled-down military parade, and appeared to be intent on demonstrating its military power in a low-level provocation without violating U.N. sanctions.
The North is banned from using ballistic technology under multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. Cruise missiles, however, are not subject to the sanctions as they are considered less of a threat than ballistic missiles.
"The development of the long-range cruise missile, a strategic weapon of great significance.... has been pushed forward according to the scientific and reliable weapon system development process for the past two years," the official Korean Central News Agency said.
"Detailed tests of missile parts, scores of engine ground thrust tests, various flight tests, control and guidance tests, warhead power tests, etc. were conducted with success," it added.
The KCNA said the missiles "traveled for 7,580 seconds along an oval and pattern-8 flight orbits in the air above the territorial land and waters" in North Korea and "hit targets 1,500 km away."
The test-firings came after the North held a scaled-down military parade at midnight Thursday to mark the 73rd state founding anniversary.
The North paraded mostly paramilitary troops, fire engines and artillery-carrying tractors rather than intercontinental ballistic missiles and other strategic weapons. The event appeared to be aimed at consolidating internal solidarity amid challenges from the coronavirus pandemic and global sanctions on its economy.
Pak Jong-chon, member of the Presidium of the politburo of the ruling Workers' Party watched the test-firings, along with other senior officials, the KCNA said. Leader Kim did not attend the tests.
"This is another great manifestation of the tremendous capabilities of the defense science and technology and the munitions industry of our country," Pak said, according to the KCNA.
"He stressed the need for the field of the national defense science to go all out to increase the defense capabilities, the war deterrence of the country and keep making achievements in meeting the grand and long-term targets of securing war deterrence."
Talks for end-of-war declaration gather pace, but skepticism lingers
N. Korea's SLBM drive aimed at regime survival, military edge, negotiation leverage: analysts
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
IOC suspension of N. Korea latest wrinkle in inter-Korean sports cooperation
Hotline restoration raises hopes for inter-Korean summit, resumption of nuclear talks