SEOUL, May 9: North Korea said on Saturday it had successfully conducted an underwater test-fire of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which, if true, would indicate progress in the secretive state’s pursuit of building missile-equipped submarines.
An ability to fire ballistic missiles from submarines by the North would pose a significant new threat to South Korea, Japan and the United States that have tried to contain the North’s growing nuclear and missile capability, a military expert said. The North’s leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test-launch from a location off-shore as the submarine dove under water and “a ballistic missile surfaced from the sea and soared into the air, leaving a fiery trail of blaze,” official said.
“Through the test, it was verified and confirmed that the underwater ballistic missile launch from a strategic submarine fully achieved the latest military, scientific and technical requirements,” KC said. North Korea is under United tions sanctions banning it from developing or using ballistic missile technology. The report did not mention the date or the exact location of the test, but a separate KC dispatch on Saturday said Kim gave field guidance at a fishery complex in Sinpo, a port city on the country’s east coast and the location of a known submarine base.
A South Korean expert who saw still photos of the launch in the North’s news media said they appeared to show a ballistic missile being fired from a submarine in a “cold launch” through an ejection mechanism, a key part of a submarine launch system. “The potential of this is that existing missile defense against the North can be rendered useless,” said Shin In-kyun, a military expert who runs the Korea Defence Network, an independent forum. (Agencies)