Despite threats of more international economic sanctions and increasingly strained political relations with its only ally, China, North Korea test-fired a new anti-ship cruise missile on Saturday.
Images were recently released by North Korean media showing the notorious leader Kim Jong Un observing rockets, launched by Korean People's Army naval units, soaring above the sea.
State television described the missile as a "new type of cutting-edge anti-ship rocket" that will "bring a great change in the navy's defence of territorial waters." Neither the date nor location of the test-firing, however, was specified.
Several experts, including Jeffrey Lewis of the California-based Monterey Institute of International Studies, claimed the missile appeared to be based on the designs of a Russian anti-ship missile, the KH-35.
Kim Jong Un reportedly boasted that the weapon proves North Korean naval defense of territorial waters is “intelligent on an ultramodern level.”
The tests were carried out after a nuclear-powered United States’ submarine, carrying some 120 sailors, arrived in South Korea last week to take part in an annual Seoul-Washington joint military exercise.
Both the countries on the Korean peninsula have been in a state of war for almost 60 years after their 1950-53 conflict ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty. North Korea accuses the U.S. of carrying out military drills in the South in order to destabilize its leadership.