North Korea Test-Fires Possible Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile

North Korean missile launch (Archive photo: AP)

North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile on Wednesday, a day after it announced the resumption of nuclear talks with the United States.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was fired from waters off the peninsula’s east coast near the port city of Wonsan, reached an altitude of 910 km (565 miles) and traveled about 450 km (280 miles) to the east before landing in the Sea of Japan.

A US official familiar with the matter told CNN that the missile was not fired from a submarine although the tested missile is designed to function as a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

South Korea said the missile tested Wednesday may have been from the Pukguksong class of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).

“Today’s test could be North Korea’s declaration of its development of the new SLBM, or Pukguksong-3, which is the upgraded version of the Pukguksong-1 missile,” said Moon Keun-sik, an expert at the Korea Defense and Security Forum.

In August 2016, North Korea successfully test-fired a Pukguksong-1 ballistic missile, codenamed KN-11, from a Sinpo-class submarine off the east coast, which flew around 500 km at the maximum altitude of around 500 to 600 km.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe strongly condemned the missile launch and said it was a violation of UN resolutions.

In a statement issued by a State Department spokesperson, the US called on North Korea “to refrain from provocations, abide by their obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions, and remain engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations to do their part to ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and achieve denuclearization.”


[Sources: Reuters, NPR, CNN, CBS News]