Military Missed Preparations for N.Korean Missile Launch

  • By Kim Jin-myung, Choi Eun-kyung

    September 14, 2021 09:15

    The South Korean military was taken by complete surprise when North Korea launched two long-range cruise missiles over the weekend.

    North Korean state media on Monday said the North successfully tested the new missiles with a range of 1,500 km on Saturday and Sunday.

    The missiles themselves can be hard to spot if they fly under the radar, but the South Korean military even missed the preparations for the launch which had been going on for several days.

    A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff here only said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities "are cooperating closely to analyze the missiles precisely." They flew for about two hours but the military here seems to have been unaware of them the whole time.

    Long-range cruise missiles are pictured in undated photos released by the official [North] Korean Central News Agency on Monday.

    Unlike previous launches, North Korean state media reported the latest tests immediately. They may have been a show of force ahead of a meeting of the chief nuclear negotiators of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan in Tokyo on Tuesday or between the South Korean and Chinese foreign ministers in Seoul on Wednesday.

    The U.S. condemned the tests as a threat to North Korea's neighbors and the international community, and Japan slammed them as a threat to peace and security in the region. But South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said that North Korea’s resumption of missile activities shows how urgent dialogue with the isolated country is.

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