Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

North Korea’s New Cruise Missile Threatens US Allies and Forces

By Behnam Ben Taleblu, Bradley Bowman, David Maxwell

17 Sep 2021 · 5 min read

When North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, it wasn’t just a violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions. The launches also come on the heels of reports this past weekend that the Kim Jong Un regime conducted successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile. While North Korean ballistic missiles are nothing new, last weekend’s news appears to demonstrate that Pyongyang now possesses a cruise missile capability that it could use to conduct long-range and difficult-to-detect conventional or potentially nuclear strikes against South Korea, Japan, or U.S. military bases in the region.

The development of the cruise missile system by North Korea’s U.S.-sanctioned Academy of National Defense Science is just the latest concerning example of the proliferation of cruise missile capabilities around the world. This trend underscores the need to enforce and strengthen sanctions against North Korea and to accelerate delivery of improved cruise missile defenses to U.S. and allied forces.

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