Published: Fri, October 04, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

North Korea admits it test-fired submarine-launched ballistic missile

North Korea admits it test-fired submarine-launched ballistic missile

The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday that North Korea's latest test was of a short to medium range ballistic missile, which was sacked from a sea-based platform.

North Korea's state-run media reported the country successfully test-fired a Pukguksong-3 in the Sea of Japan on Wednesday.

The agency added that the launch had "great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces' threat to the [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defense".

The test "had no adverse impact on the security of neighbouring countries", KCNA said but gave no further details.

South Korea expressed strong concern and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the launch, saying it was a violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

The missile test came shortly after North Korea announced planned working-level talks on October 5 with U.S. negotiators - the first substantive sit-down since the February breakdown at the Hanoi summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

He said the Pukguksong-3 is a medium-range missile. It was likely a Pukguksong-class weapon, as the North's earlier submarine-launched ballistic missiles under development were known. The missile traveled twice as high as the orbit of the worldwide space station before coming down in the Sea of Japan.

A "submarine-launched ballistic missile poses a bigger threat than other short-range missiles North Korea displayed over the past year", she said.

To be assured of the capability, the submarine must have not only the ability to launch a nuclear ballistic missile but also the endurance to sail within range of the enemy.

A North Korean ballistic missile submarine in the middle of the Sea of Japan could fire outside of the angle of the South Korea-based Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system's AN/TPY-2 radar's coverage, for example.

In late August, Britain, France and Germany sought a meeting of the Security Council after North Korea tested a new "super large" multiple rocket launcher.

A submarine launch would match what the South Korean military suspected the day before.

According to South Korean authorities, the missile flew to an apogee of 910 kilometers, flying to a range of 450 kilometers.

"Given the timing of the launch, the North appears to have wanted to strengthen its negotiation position ahead of the talks and ramp up pressure on the U.S.to come up with a new calculation method acceptable to Pyongyang", Handong Global University professor Park Won-gon told South Korea's Yonhap News on Wednesday.

The latest test may be a reminder of the North's capabilities just days before nuclear talks with the US restart.

That diplomacy largely remains stalemated after the February breakdown of a second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Vietnam.

The two sides deadlocked over the North's demands for extensive sanctions relief in exchange for steps toward denuclearization, primarily an offer to shut down its main nuclear facility at Yongbyon.

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