North Korea has launched a suspected submarine-launched ballistic missile into waters off the coast of Japan, South Korea’s military has declared.
Pyongyang announced publicly the missile in January, describing it as
“the world’s most powerful weapon”.
It emerges weeks after South Korea launched a similar weapon of its own.
North Korea has unveiled a flurry of missile tests in recent weeks, in addition to what it said were hyper-sonic and long-range weapons.
Some of these experiments contravene strict international punitive action.
The country is precisely forbidden by the United Nations from testing ballistic missiles including nuclear weapons.
The UN considers ballistic missiles to be more life terrifying than cruise missiles due to the fact that they can carry more powerful payloads, have a longer range and can fly faster.
EXPLAINER: North Korea’s missile and nuclear programme
FEATURE: A high-profile defector opens up on Kim’s N Korea
On Tuesday South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff declared one missile had been unveiled from the port of Sinpo, in the east of North Korea where Pyongyang usually positioned its submarines. It landed in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.
They declared that it was suspected to have been a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
South Korean media stated that this particular missile was considered to have traveled about 450km (280 miles) at a maximum height of 60km.
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said two ballistic missiles had been launched, describing the launches
Why ‘submarine-launched’ is important
North Korea in October 2019, tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, launching a Pukguksong-3 from an underwater platform.
State news agency KCNA at the time, said it had been launched at a high angle to reduce the “external threat”.
Still, if the missile had been fired on a standard trajectory, instead of a vertical one, it could have travelled around 1,900km. That would have put all of South Korea and Japan near enough to be detected.
Being fired from a submarine can also make missiles harder to reached and allow them to get closer to other targets.
The recent firing comes as South Korea evolves its own weapons, in what viewers say has turned into an arms race on the Korean peninsula.
Seoul is holding what is believed to be South Korea’s far-reaching ever defense exhibition this week. It will as already reported unveil a new fighter jet as well as guided weapons like missiles. It is as well due to launch its own space rocket shortly.
North and South Korea strictly remain at war as the Korean War, which divided the peninsula into two countries and which saw the US backing the South, ended in 1953 with a ceasefire.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared last week that he did not crave for war to break out again. He said his country wanted to continue developing weapons for self-defense against enemies, namely the US which he accused of antagonism.
North Korea For years has been pushing to develop and launch nuclear-armed missiles from submarines.
But can they really fire them from a submarine? We will have to hold on for images of the launch, which will give reports a better idea of just how far Pyongyang arrived.
In addition, let’s be certain about the threat – the country’s submarines are as reported noisy and easy to track. The regime is believed to have only one submarine effective of firing missiles meanwhile a second one is being built at Sinpo.
There is, certainly, also a bit of showmanship on-going here.
Only last month, South Korea fired its own submarine-launched ballistic missile and the North was not moved.
So, in the midst of this regional arms race, is there still hope for discussion?
Seoul still is opmistic. Still Kim Jong-un is sending mixed messages. This minute he is firing missiles and the next he is sending missives via state media about likely peace talks.
As usual, Pyongyang is manifesting hard to read.
In the mean time, South Korean, Japanese and US intelligence chiefs are meeting in Seoul to to talk about North Korea.
The US envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, is right now on his way to the city to discuss how to re-initiate dialogue with Pyongyang, in addition to whether there should be a formal pronouncement of the end of the Korean War.
In the last 24 hours, he has re-instated the position of US President Joe Biden’s administration that it is open to discussion with North Korea without preconditions.
preceding talks between the US and North Korea failed due to essential part of dispute on denuclearization.
The US wants North Korea to cease making its nuclear weapons before sanctions can be eased, but North Korea has so far declined.
North Korea unveils new submarine-launched missile
N Korea’s Kim vows to build ‘invincible military’
Published7 days ago
North Korea’s missile and nuclear programme
A high-profile defector opens up on Kim’s N Korea