The North Korean state media has released on February 7 new images showing that the secretive state has test-fired a new anti-ship cruise missile.
The images were released in the lead-up to US-South Korean military exercises this spring. North Korea routinely seeks to raise tensions ahead of the annual drills, although this year Pyongyang has also offered to suspend nuclear testing if Washington calls off the exercises.
The images, which were shown on the front page of the ruling Workers’ Party Rodong Sinmun newspaper, showed leader Kim Jong-un observing the missile being fired from a small naval vessel.
State media described it as a “new type of cutting-edge anti-ship rocket” developed by North Korean scientists that will “bring a great change in the navy’s defense of territorial waters”.
The missile appeared identical in design to a Russian anti-ship missile, the KH-35, which is capable of flying at high speeds meters above the sea.
North Korea has increased the number of air and naval military drills in recent weeks, ahead of the annual US-South Korean military exercises on the Korean peninsula.
Pyongyang regularly protests over the drills, which it says are a rehearsal for war.
North Korean officials have made frequent trips to Russia over the past year, where Kim Jong-un is scheduled to make his first official state visit this May.