North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has overseen the test-firing of two long-range strategic cruise missiles in person, the country's official media reported Thursday.

The test was "successfully" conducted on Wednesday, with Kim expressing "great satisfaction" and stressing that his country should "focus all efforts on the endless and accelerating development" of nuclear weapons to bolster its defense capabilities, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

The missiles flew off the west coast for about two hours and 50 minutes along "oval and pattern-8 flight orbits," hitting a target 2,000 kilometers away, KCNA said.

Photo carried by the North Korean ruling party's Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Oct. 13, 2022, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (front) overseeing the test-firing of long-range strategic cruise missiles the previous day. (Photo courtesy of Korea Media)(Kyodo)

The test was aimed at improving the "combat efficiency and might" of long-range strategic cruise missiles deployed to its army "for the operation of tactical nukes," it said.

South Korea's military said Thursday the two cruise missiles were launched in the early hours of Wednesday from the North's South Pyongan Province.

Kim stressed that the test-firing is "another clear warning to the enemies and the practical verification and clear demonstration of the absolute reliability and combat capacity of our state's war deterrent."

The missiles' range of 2,000 km would put all of the Japanese archipelago within reach. In January, North Korea said it had test-fired two cruise missiles that hit a target 1,800 km away.

In Tokyo, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference that if North Korea's report is true, its missiles "would threaten peace and stability in the region," adding, "We are concerned" about Pyongyang's move.

Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said at a parliamentary committee session that Pyongyang is "believed to already possess miniaturized nuclear weapons able to fit onto ballistic missile warheads with enough range to attack our nation."

As North Korea's missile technology has developed, it has become more difficult to detect signs of missiles launches at an early stage and therefore intercept them, Hamada said.

Japan will consider all options in promptly considering how to fundamentally strengthen its defense capabilities, he added.

Between Sept. 25 and Sunday, North Korea carried out seven rounds of ballistic missile launches. Those tests were also overseen by Kim.

From the start of this year, North Korea has repeatedly launched ballistic missiles, and there are concerns Pyongyang may be preparing to conduct in the near future what would be its seventh nuclear test and first since September 2017.

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