SEOUL: North Korea appears to have acquired a sea-based copy of a Russian cruise missile, the latest step in an effort to enhance its maritime strike capability, a US think-tank said yesterday.
A state propaganda film disseminated on social media sites, including YouTube, provides a very brief glimpse of the missile being launched from a naval vessel.
Writing on the closely watched 38 North website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis said the missile would mark “a new and potentially destabilising addition” to North Korea’s military arsenal.
Lewis identified the weapon as a copy of the Russian-produced KH-35 -- a sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missile developed during the 1980s and 90s.
Although the range and payload of the KH-35 fall below the threshold set by the Missile Technology Control Regime, any export of cruise missiles to North Korea would be a violation of UN sanctions.
“Although direct sale from Russia seems most likely, it is possible that North Korea obtained them from a third party like Myanmar,” said Lewis, who is director for East Asia at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
As well as Myanmar, Russia has exported sea- and land-based cruise missiles to Algeria, India, Vietnam and Venezuela. AFP