Over the weekend, North Korea test-fired what it called a new type of "long-range cruise missile," the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday, Sept. 13.
The test launches, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, were observed by senior officials, who reported the tests had been carried out "successfully."
The KCNA report also said the weapons had been in development for two years before being tested by North Korea's Defense Science Academy.
"The missiles traveled for 7,580 seconds along oval and figure-eight flight orbits over North Korea and its territorial waters, and hit targets 1,500 kilometers (about 930 miles) away," KCNA said.
The missile has been described as a "strategic weapon of great importance," and will be "another effective means of deterrence" to help "strongly contain the military maneuvers of hostile forces" against North Korea.
U.S. and South Korean officials told CNN they are investigating the launch claims.
"Cruise missiles are often detected after tests are conducted for their low flight altitudes. North Korea had already conducted two cruise missile tests this year, but we did not disclose them because we do not disclose all the cruise missile tests we detect," a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.
North Korea's launch announcement comes just as South Korea's top nuclear envoy heads to Japan to discuss North Korea with U.S. and Japanese officials on Monday and Tuesday. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is also scheduled to visit South Korea this week.
On several occasions the UN has expressed its concern over North Korea's ballistic missile program through different Security Council resolutions. However, such resolutions have not focused on cruise missile development or testing.
Unlike ballistic missiles, cruise missiles are propelled by jet engines. Like an aircraft, they stay closer to the ground, making them more difficult to detect. Most cruise missiles are also not designed to carry nuclear warheads.
This missile test was North Korea's most significant since President Joe Biden took office in January.