North Korea confirmed that it successfully launched and tested a new submarine-launched ballistic missile yesterday. KCNA, the State news agency, said that the missile had advanced control guidance technologies, which made it difficult to track and hit. Moreover, the statement from the state news agency came one day after the South Korean military had fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile off its east sea coast. It was the latest in a string of North Korea’s missile tests.
🇰🇵⚡️🇯🇵North Korea launched a ballistic missile towards the Sea of Japan.
The launch was made from the Sinpo area, which may indicate the testing of a product for submarines, since it is in Sinpo that the main North Korean shipyard for the production of submarines is located.
— The RAGEX (@theragex) October 19, 2021
On the other side, the United States White House encouraged North Korea to refrain from further provocations, with Jen Psaki, the White House spokeswoman on Tuesday the U.S. remained ready to engage North Korea diplomatically over its weapons programmers. So far, Pyongyang rejected those proposals, accusing South Korea and the U.S. of conversing diplomacy while intensifying tensions with their own military activities.
On Wednesday, Chung Eui-Yong, the Foreign Minister of South Korea, called for the U.S. to withdraw sanctions if North Korea returns to dialogs. But, he told parliament, action must take as early as possible to stop the North from developing further missile and nuclear capability. He thinks considering easing economic sanctions can surely be an option. Diplomats said that the United Kingdom and the U.S. plan to raise the latest test of North Korea during the United Nations Security Council meeting on Wednesday.
The United Nations Prohibits North Korea from Testing Ballistic Missiles and nuclear weapons
Furthermore, the United Nations bans it from testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. The new-type submarine-launched ballistic missile launched from the same submarine involved in a 2016 test of an older submarine-launched ballistic missile, KCNA said. North has an extensive fleet of aging submarines but still has to deploy operational ballistic missile submarines before the experimental boast, Gorae-class used in those tests.
Ballistic missiles are considered more threatening than cruise missiles (guided missiles used against terrestrial targets) because they can carry more powerful payloads, have an extended range, and move faster. North Korean state media also said that the latest missiles had the latest controlling and homing technology, which allowed them to move crosswise. The latest missile was also capable of jumping and gliding movement. Moreover, KCNA released pictures of the missile as well.
Further, it said it fired from the same submarine that launched in a 2016 older missile test. This missile was one of several new weapons that North Korea displayed last week at a defense exhibition in Pyongyang. Reports didn’t mention Kim Jong-un, suggesting he didn’t attend the missile test event.
Why is Submarine-Launched Ballistic Important?
Back in October 2019, North tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile, Pukguksong-3, from an underwater platform. At that moment, the North Korean state media said that it fired the missile at a high angle to lessen the external threat. However, if the ballistic missile launched on a standard trajectory rather than a vertical one, it could travel around nineteen hundred kilometers. That would put all of Japan and South Korea within range.
If a missile launched from a submarine, it could make it difficult to detect and allow the North to deploy its weapons far outside the Korean Peninsula. Furthermore, the latest launch from North Korea comes as South Korea develops its own weapons, in what experts say turned into an arms race in the Korean Peninsula. Seoul is holding the largest-ever defense exhibition of South Korea this week.
Reportedly, South will reveal a new fighter aircraft in addition to guided weapons such as missiles. Likewise, it is due to launch its own space rocket soon. South and North Korean technology remain at war as the Korean War, which divided the Peninsula into two nations and saw the United States Supporting the South, ended in 1953 with an armistice. However, last week, Kim Jong-un expressed that he didn’t want the war to break out again.