North Korea says it has tested a newly-developed missile designed to be launched from a submarine, the first such weapons test in two years and one it says will bolster its military’s underwater operational capability.
The test on Tuesday was the fifth missile launch since September and came as North Korea steps up pressure on Washington and Seoul to abandon what Pyongyang sees as hostile polices such as joint US-South Korea military drills and international sanctions on the North.
North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said the latest test “will greatly contribute to putting the defence technology of the country on a high level and to enhancing the underwater operational capability of our navy”.
It said the new missile has introduced advanced control guidance technologies including flank mobility and gliding skip mobility.
The North’s neighbours on Tuesday said they detected the North’s missile firing and said the weapon landed in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. South Korea’s military described the missile as a short-range submarine-launched ballistic missile and said the launch was made from waters near the eastern port of Sinpo, where North Korea has a major shipyard building submarines.
KCNA said Tuesday’s launch was made from “the same 8.24 Yongung ship,” a submarine that North Korea said it used to conduct its first submarine-launched strategic ballistic missile test in 2016.
Tuesday’s launch is the most high-profile weapons test by North Korea since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The Biden administration has repeatedly said it’s open to resuming nuclear diplomacy with North Korea “anywhere and at any time” without preconditions. The North has so far rebuffed such overtures, saying US hostility remains unchanged.
Nuclear negotiations between the US and North Korea have been stalled for more than two years because of disagreements over an easing of crippling US-led sanctions against North Korea in exchange for denuclearisation steps by the North.