Anti-Ship Cruise Missile (ASCM)
Officials from the Pentagon reported that North Korea had tested a cruise missile designed to target ships in the Sea of Japan, but the device missed its target during testing. U.S. officials stated that the missile, which had a range of 85 to 150 km, was developed over the course of 18 months and was an upgrade of China’s HY-2 Silkworm missile. According to a Pentagon report released in 1996, North Korea began its cruise missile program in the 1980s when it received technology from China and the Soviet Union.
A second test of the ASCM was fired over the Sea of Japan but missed its target, according to a senior Pentagon official. The test came as the United States pressed for sanctions against North Korea for its suspected nuclear weapons program. The Japanese government reported that North Korea conducted another test of the ASCM as “part of normal training” exercises.
North Korea test-launched a new ASCM called the AG-1 cruise missile from a mobile launcher. The firing of the missile was detected by a United States RC-135 Cobra Ball surveillance aircraft and was the first successful test of an ASCM. The new cruise missile was believed to have a longer range than the Silkworm of as much as 120 km with better guidance technology, but Pentagon officials described it as “unimpressive, old technology.”
North Korea fired an ASCM into the Sea of Japan on the eve of the South Korean President-elect Roh Moo Hyun’s inauguration. The missile was classified as a KN-01 or Seersucker short-range missile that traveled 60 km before falling harmlessly into the water. This was the first test since North Korea imposed a moratorium on itself on long-range missile flight tests in 1998 after testing the TD-1.
Another surface-to-air ASCM, similar to the one fired in Feb. 2003, was test-launched into the Sea of Japan. U.S. and South Korean officials saw the two consecutive ASCM tests as provocative actions to get the United States’ attention.
U.S. officials believed the test was of a modified version of North Korea’s ASCM. Yasuo Fukuda, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time, stated in response to the launch, “We cannot rule out that it could be a kind of demonstration.” There were also unconfirmed reports of several other test launches, including one involving a Silkworm missile.
U.S. officials confirmed reports by Japan saying that North Korea had fired two short-range missiles in the direction of China.
According to the South Korean government, North Korea tested short-range ASCMs into the Sea of Japan in what was believed to be an annual routine military exercise. Japanese news media reported the missiles had a range of 100 to 200 km and were either modified Silkworm or KN-01 missiles.
Gordon Johndroe, a national security spokesman for the Bush administration, labeled the test of two ASCMs as “not constructive.” The South Korean government however stated that it would not harm relations with North Korea.
Three more short-range missiles were fired from North Korea’s coast according to South Korean news reports confirmed by Pentagon officials. At least one of the missiles involved a KN-02, a new solid-fueled missile with an improved precision strike ability and a range of 120 km. A series of short-range missiles were fired as North Korea issued a warning for the United States to stop “trying to cook up fictions” on North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
Three short-range missiles with a range of nearly 50 km were reportedly test-fired into the sea bordering North Korea’s western border.