|U.S. military tanks conduct an exercise in Yeoncheon, near the border with North Korea, South Korea, Sept. 10. AP-Yonhap|
North Korea's test-firing of long-range cruise missiles shows the threats the country poses to the region and beyond, the U.S. military said.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency said earlier Monday the country successfully test-fired a new type of long-range cruise missiles over the weekend with the missiles hitting targets 1,500 kilometers away.
"We are aware of reports of DPRK cruise missile launches. We will continue to monitor the situation and are consulting closely with our allies and partners," the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement released just hours after the North's announcement.
DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"This activity highlights DPRK's continuing focus on developing its military program and the threats that poses to its neighbors and the international community," the statement said. "The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea and Japan remains ironclad."
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff has said an in-depth analysis is underway in close cooperation with U.S. intelligence authorities but refused to confirm details, including where the tests were conducted and if they detected the launches in advance.
The latest firing marks the third known major missile test by the communist country so far this year.
On March 21, the North fired two cruise missiles off the west coast, followed by the launch of two short-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea just four days later. (Yonhap)