North Korea confirmed Tuesday that it has successfully tested a new ballistic missile launched from a submarine.
State news agency KCNA said the missile has “advanced control guidance technologies,” which could make monitoring more difficult.
North Korea has carried out a series of weapons tests in recent weeks, launching what it said were hypersonic and long-range weapons.
The UN forbids it from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Ballistic missiles are considered more threatening than cruise missiles because they can carry more powerful payloads, have a longer range, and can fly faster.
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North Korean state media on Wednesday claimed that its latest missile had new “control and homing” technology that allowed it to move sideways. He was also able to “fly and jump motion”. He also posted pictures of the missile.
He said it was fired from the same submarine that fired an older missile in a 2016 test.
Reports did not mention leader Kim Jong-un, suggesting that he did not participate in the test.
On Tuesday, South Korean chiefs of staff said a missile was launched from Sinpo port in eastern North Korea, where Pyongyang usually bases its submarines.
It landed in the Eastern Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, and traveled approximately 450 km (280 miles) at a maximum altitude of 60 km.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the launch “very deplorable”.
Because the “submarine launch” is significant
In October 2019, North Korea tested a ballistic missile launched from a submarine, firing a Pukguksong-3 from an undersea platform.
At the time, KCNA said it was fired from a high angle to minimize the “external threat”.
However, if the missile had been launched on a standard rather than vertical trajectory, it could have traveled about 1,900 km. This would put all of South Korea and Japan within reach.
Being launched from a submarine can also make missiles harder to detect and allow them to get close to other targets.
The latest launch comes as South Korea develops its own weapons, in what observers say has turned into an arms race on the Korean peninsula.
This week Seoul will hold what is said to be South Korea’s largest defense exhibition. It will reportedly unveil a new fighter jet and guided weapons such as missiles. It should also launch its own space rocket shortly.
North Korea and South Korea technically remain at war as the Korean War, which divided the peninsula into two countries and which saw the United States support the South, ended in 1953 in an armistice.
Kim Jong-un said last week that he didn’t want war to break out again. He said his country needs to continue developing weapons for self-defense against enemies, namely the United States which it has accused of hostility.
Meanwhile, the heads of South Korean, Japanese and US intelligence are meeting in Seoul to discuss North Korea.
The United States envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, is expected to discuss how to restart the dialogue with Pyongyang, including the advisability of a formal declaration of the end of the Korean War.
This week it reiterated the administration’s position of US President Joe Biden that it is open to meeting with North Korea without preconditions.
Previous talks between the United States and North Korea broke down due to fundamental disagreements over denuclearization.
The US wants North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons before sanctions can be relaxed, but so far North Korea has refused.
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