North Korea claimed on Sunday to have successfully launched the ballistic missile from a submarine this weekend, calling the test-fire a ‘great success’. The successful test gives the country ‘one more means for powerful nuclear attack’, which North Korea claiming to be another weapon ‘capable of hitting the heads of the south Korean puppet forces and the U.S. imperialists anytime as it pleases’.
The pictures of the submarine missile were televised by North Korea’s state television with the name ‘North Star’, which it claimed were underwater images of the missile being ejected from the submarine, using key ‘cold launch’ technology. The missile was seen trailing a large plume of smoke as it soared out of the water.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed that the North fired what could be a ballistic missile from a submarine in the East Sea (Sea of Japan). It also added that the missile flew ‘for a few minutes’, for a distance of less than 20 miles. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited the South’s military saying that the minimum range would normally be 10 times that distance, adding that the military speculated the missile test had probably failed.
Dismissing the South Korean report, Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency said the test ‘confirmed and reinforced’ the reliability of the North Korea’s underwater launching system.
It is believed that North Korea bought 10 Golf-class diesel-electric missile-capable submarines from Russia in early 1990s. Experts believe that North has made at least one of them seaworthy and now is using it for testing a sea-based ballistic missile of its own.
Information about Pyongyang using an upgraded ballistic missile submarine to establish the naval component of the national nuclear triad emerged in 2014. The first underwater launch of North Korean SLBM missile KN-11 was made on November 27 last year, which allegedly resulted in failure. The next try on December 21 was reported to be a success, with Pyongyang demonstrating its leader Kim Jong-un observing the launch.
U.S. Strategic Command reportedly detected and tracked Saturday’s test but said it did not pose a threat to North America. However, any progress made by the North in submarine missile launches are viewed as serious, it added.
In recent months, the North has conducted numerous land-based missile launches as a response to a series of expansive joint military exercises involving U.S. and South Korean forces. North Korea complained to the United Nations that the exercises were part of a conspiracy to overthrow leader Kim Jong-un.
The UN Security Council echoed international condemnation on Sunday of the missile test by North Korea. The Security Council said the SLBM launch marked a ‘serious’ violation of the UN resolutions aimed at curbing the North’s nuclear drive, and urged Pyongyang to refrain from any further provocations.