Pyongyang, Oct 3: North Korea said on Thursday it had successfully conducted a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), what they called a necessary step in order to contain international forces’ threat to the nation and deepen its self-defence mechanism.
The launch, called to be most provocating since it resumed negotiations with the US, came ahead of the resumption of working-level dialogues between the United States and North Korea. The test was believed to be a reminder by Pyongyang of its nuclear weapon capability it had been aggressively developing.
State-run KCNA news agency reported N Korean leader Kim Jong-un “sent warm congratulations” to the experts who conducted the test and indicated Kim was not at the side when the launch took place.
“The successful new-type SLBM test-firing comes to be of great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces’ threat to the DPRK and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defence,” the state news agency said.
The new-type SLBM was “fired in vertical mode” off the sea in Wonsan city, according to KCNA, also confirming the South Korean assessment of Wednesday.
The launch “had no adverse impact on the security of neighbouring countries”, KCNA said, without giving further details of the launch or Kim’s view.
South Korea’s military said it had identified the launch of a missile that flew 450 km (280 miles) and arrived at an elevation of 910 km (565 miles). It was likely a Pukguksong-class weapon, as the North’s previous submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) were known, that is being worked on.
South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo told a parliamentary board of trustees on Wednesday the Pukguksong has a scope of around 1,300 km (910 miles) and that the apogee of the rocket terminated on Wednesday may have been raised to lessen the distance it voyaged.