SEOUL: North Korea successfully tested a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile, state media reported Wednesday as the nuclear-armed country seeks to show off its ever-expanding military capabilities.
Tuesday’s test, carried out near Sinpo, the site of a major naval dockyard, came as both Koreas build up their weapons technology in what could become an arms race on the peninsula and with Washington-Pyongyang dialogue at a standstill.
A proven submarine-based missile capability would take the North’s arsenal to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a second-strike capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
The missile had “lots of advanced control guidance technologies”, the official Korean Central News Agency said.
But it added that it was fired from the same vessel that the North used in its first SLBM test five years ago, indicating that it may only have made limited progress in its launch capabilities.
Pictures in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed the black and white missile emerging from calm waters trailing a column of fire and smoke, and a surfacing submarine.
Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo have condemned the launch. All three describe it as a ballistic missile, and diplomats told AFP that the United Nations Security Council would hold an emergency closed-door meeting later Wednesday on North Korea.
In recent weeks, it came after Pyongyang tested a long-range cruise missile, a train-launched weapon and what it said was a hypersonic warhead, sparking global concern.
“We’ve seen so far five missile launches from North Korea in the past couple of months,” said Soo Kim of the RAND Corporation.
“And each test showed something ‘different in the way of Pyongyang’s missile capabilities. So the regime is adding more provocation tools, which isn’t exactly good news to the US, South Korea, and Japan. “Kim wants attention, of course,” she told AFP.