North Korea tested new ‘submarine-launched ballistic missile’: KCNA
North Korea successfully tested a “new type” of submarine-launched ballistic missile, state media reported early Wednesday as the nuclear-armed country pursues ever more advanced weapons.
The device had “lots of advanced control guidance technologies”, the official Korean Central News Agency said, adding the missile was fired from the same vessel that the North used in its first SLBM test five years ago.
It did not mention leader Kim Jong Un, indicating he was not present for the test.
Pictures in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed the black and white missile emerging from calm waters trailing a column of fire and smoke, and a surfacing submarine.
A proven submarine-based missile capability would take the North’s arsenal to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a second-strike capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
But the use of the same “8.24 Yongung” submarine as it tested five years indicates that it may only have made limited progress in its launch capabilities.
According to a 2018 analysis by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the experimental vessel “appears capable of firing a single ballistic missile” and has to surface every few days, limiting its operational usefulness.
And the Pentagon and analysts say that the North’s last SLBM test in 2019 is likely to have been fired from a submerged platform.
Tuesday’s test, carried out near Sinpo, the site of a major naval dockyard, came as both Koreas build up their weapons capabilities in what could become an arms race on the peninsula, and with Washington-Pyongyang dialogue at a standstill.