North Korea conducts a test for a 'super-large' cruise missile warhead and a new anti-aircraft missile near the West Sea, Friday, in this photo released by the Korean Central News Agency, Saturday. Yonhap

North Korea’s latest tests of a “super-large” cruise missile warhead and a new anti-aircraft missile came in response to the South Korea-U.S. joint annual air exercise, analysts said Sunday.Some also noted the possibility that the Kim Jong-un regime may look to export missiles to Iran amid escalating Israel-Iran tensions.The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Saturday that the country’s missile administration had carried out a power test for the warhead designed for the Hwasal-1 Ra-3 strategic cruise missile and test-launched its new anti-aircraft missile, the Pyoljji-1-2, in the West Sea on Friday.The latest missile test marks North Korea’s sixth cruise missile launch this year, following its launch on Feb. 14.”Both tests were part of the regular activities of the administration and its affiliated defense science institutes for the rapid development of technologies in various aspects, such as tactical and technical performance and operation of new-type weapon systems,” KCNA said.Though the state media stressed that the tests were not related to the regional situation, experts analyzed that the North’s latest anti-aircraft missile test is to show off that it has counterstrike capability against enemy aircraft and missiles.South Korea and the United States have been carrying out a 15-day joint air exercise near the Korean Peninsula since April 12, involving some 100 warplanes to strengthen their readiness against North Korean military threats. The Korea Flying Training focuses on integrating fifth-generation fighters, enhancing precision strike capability and training troops on combat and search and rescue scenarios.

“I think North Korea conducted missile tests in reaction to South Korean-U.S. joint air drills. From a larger perspective, I believe resuming missile tests is part of the North’s five-year defense plan announced at the 8th Party Congress in 2021 that it will develop cruise missiles,” said Cho Han-bum, a senior research fellow at the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification.While it marked the first time that Pyongyang has unveiled the name of its anti-aircraft missile, Cho noted that its move to specify the names of the missile does not have significant meaning because it keeps changing the names as they make technological progress.Yang Uk, a military expert at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is trying to promote his achievement and regime stability ahead of the 80th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea in 2025.”North Korea claims to be making technological progress in the performance of its conventional weapons, but there is no proof or evidence for the success of their advancement. I think the North’s leader Kim is trying to create an impression that he is continuing development of advanced weapons systems,” Yang said.Some experts did not rule out the possibility that the North is trying to market its new missiles to Iran amid the ongoing military conflict with Israel, while others raised skepticism over the regime’s missile capability for export.”North Korea may be looking to export its missiles to Iran, but I don’t think that is their key intention,” Cho said.Yang said Pyongyang’s missile technology and systems need to become more sophisticated and reliable for export.”Russia has imported artillery shells and other equipment, but not cruise missiles, from North Korea for its war in Ukraine. This suggests that transferring cruise missiles to Iran is unlikely,” he said.Meanwhile, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it would closely watch North Korea’s provocations and military activities 토토사이트 while maintaining a strong combined defense posture.

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