North Korea tests first submarine-launched missile in two years


SEOUL – North Korea conducted its first test in two years of a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Tuesday, just hours after special envoys for North Korea met in Washington to discuss how to manage the nuclear capacities of the isolated country.

The test was the latest in a series of provocations from North Korea in recent weeks, forcing South Korea’s National Security Council to discuss the North’s continued acts of aggression in the region. The council expressed “deep regret” that the North launched a missile as part of international efforts to continue the dialogue.

The South Korean military said the missile was fired from Sinpo, a city on the east coast where North Korea has often conducted its missile tests. It also has a naval base in the area, which houses its submarine-launched ballistic missile program.

The South Korean military did not provide any further details about the test as its officials continued to analyze data collected during the launch. The National Security Council of the Southern Presidential Office usually meets when the North conducts a missile test to assess the dangers posed.

With its intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles launched by North Korea’s submarines pose one of the greatest military threats to the United States and its regional allies, as they can extend the range of the North’s nuclear missiles. . SLBMs are also more difficult to detect in advance.

North Korea tested three Hwasong ICBMs in 2017. After the last such test, it claimed it can now target the continental United States with a nuclear warhead. At the same time, the country has developed a more stealthy method of delivering its nuclear warheads via SLBMs.

North Korea has been testing its Pukguksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles since 2015. It carried out its last SLBM test in October 2019, when it launched its Pukgukgong-3 missile off its east coast. During the military parades organized in Pyongyang last October and in January, this too attach two improved but untested versions of its Pukguksong missiles, called Pukguksong-4 and Pukguksong-5. The North called Pukguksong-5 a “strategic” SLBM, saying it was designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

It is still unclear whether the SLBMs the North has launched in recent years were fired from an actual submarine or from an underwater platform. North Korea had only one submarine built to launch a ballistic missile, and that ship only had one launch tube. The country has built a new one with greater capacities.

South Korean defense officials did not disclose on Tuesday whether they believed the latest test involved one of the North’s two new SLBMs or the new submarine it was building.

Last month, South Korea conducted its first submarine-launched ballistic missile test. At the time, it was called the seventh country in the world with SLBMs, after the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and India, refusing to accept the North as a full-fledged SLBM power.

The two Koreas are in an arms race as the nuclear and ballistic capabilities of the North have developed and the South retaliated by deploying its own more powerful warplanes and missiles.

North Korea carried out its last missile test on September 30, when it tested a newly developed anti-aircraft missile. Outside officials and analysts are watching North Korea’s weapons launches closely, as some of the country’s missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

North Korean weapons have become a growing security concern in the region. The country has carried out eight missile tests this year, including missiles launched from trains coming out of tunnels and what the North has claimed to be a hypersonic missile. Last week, it showed off its growing missile arsenal at one of its largest military equipment displays, as its leader, Kim Jong-un, said he did not believe repeated claims by the States- United that he had no hostile intent. towards his country.

Several United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from developing and testing ballistic missile technology. In 2017, North Korea tested three intercontinental ballistic missiles and carried out its sixth underground nuclear test. At the end of that year, Kim claimed his country had the capacity to launch a nuclear strike against the continental United States.

He then met with President Donald J. Trump three times to push the United States to ease sanctions. Their diplomacy collapsed without an agreement on canceling the northern nuclear weapons program or lifting international sanctions imposed on the country.

Mr. Kim has since resumed his missile testing. At a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party in the North in January, Mr Kim provided a detailed list of weapons he said his country was developing to help counter foreign aggression.

Sung Kim, Washington’s special envoy to North Korea, on Monday renewed his call for dialogue with Pyongyang when he met with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Washington. He reiterated that the United States had “no hostile intentions” towards the North and urged the country to resume “unconditional” talks.

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