North Korea has reportedly test fired newly developed long-range cruise missiles that triggered new concerns about Pyongyang’s weapons programme.

The missiles, launched from a transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicle, flew to hit targets around 1,500km away and fell into the country’s territorial waters, a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) statement said.

The tests demonstrated the technicalities, including the thrust of the newly developed turbine-blast engine and the missile’s flight manoeuvrability among others.

Notably, the reclusive nation tested the missiles just ahead of a scheduled meeting between the US, South Korea and Japan to discuss the stalled denuclearisation process of the Korean peninsula, reported Reuters.

This is said to be North Korea’s first missile test since March when it tested tactical short-range ballistic missiles.

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KCNA further added that the weapon system offers ‘strategic significance of possessing another effective means of deterrence for more reliably guaranteeing the security of the state and tightly containing the military manoeuvres of the hostile forces’.

Pak Jong Chon, a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, supervised the launch.

The US armed forces’ Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) noted that it is aware of reports of cruise missile launches by North Korea and is currently monitoring the situation.

In a brief statement, INDOPACOM said: “This activity highlights DPRK’s continuing focus on developing its military programme and the threats that poses to its neighbours and the international community. The US commitment to the defence of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad.”

Last year, North Korea displayed previously unseen intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at a military parade.