N. Korea confirms test-launch of new SLBM in state media report
This photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday, shows a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) being fired in waters off the east coast the previous day. (Korean Central News Agency (KCNA))
North Korea announced Wednesday that it has successfully conducted a test-firing of a new-type of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) a day earlier.
On Tuesday, South Korea's military said the North fired a short-range missile believed to be an SLBM from the vicinity of Sinpo, where its main submarine shipyard is located. It marked the North's eighth known major missile test this year.
The Academy of National Defense Science conducted the test-launch from "8.24 Yongung" where its first SLBM was "successfully launched five years ago to demonstrate the military muscle of the DPRK, " according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.In August 2016, North Korea claimed it had successfully launched an SLBM in waters off its east coast near Sinpo, though Seoul officials have said it was unclear if the missile was actually fired from a submarine.
"It clarified that the new type SLBM, into which lots of advanced control guidance technologies including flank mobility and gliding skip mobility are introduced, will greatly contribute to putting the defense technology of the country on a high level and to enhancing the underwater operational capability of our navy," the KCNA said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not inspect the firing.
The new weapon appears to be a mini-SLBM first showcased at a rare defense exhibition held in Pyongyang last week to mark the 76th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
During the event, Kim ordered the country's military capabilities to be strengthened, calling it the North's "first and foremost task."
The North's latest show of force came amid a flurry of diplomatic activities to resume the long-stalled denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the United States remains ready to engage with North Korea anytime and anywhere, adding that the North's missile tests underscore the urgent need to engage with the reclusive state.
Tuesday's firing also came about a month after South Korea conducted a test-launch of an indigenously designed SLBM from its 3,000-ton submarine, declaring to have become the world's seventh country to possess SLBM capability.
Days after the South's SLBM launch, North Korea discounted the new weapon as a "clumsy product" in the elementary stage of development, questioning its ability to serve as an effective means of attack. (Yonhap)