North Korea on Saturday launched what appeared to be a ballistic missile from a submarine in the East Sea, South Korean officials said.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff confirmed Saturday that the North fired what could be a SLBM around 6:30 p.m. It wasn’t clear how far the missile flew, the official said. Analysts say that Kim Jong-Un, 33, likely sees the congress as an opportunity to flaunt his leadership skills, and would probably carry out more militaristic provocations before May.
“We have seen the reports that North Korea launched what appeared to be a ballistic missile from a submarine in the Sea of Japan”, State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
According to United Press International (UPI), US and South Korean military surveillance captured movements at North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear site last week, indicating that Pyongyang might be preparing for its fifth nuclear test.
“It was a fiery, catastrophic attempt at a launch that was unsuccessful”, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said last Friday.
Security experts have warned that if North Korea does acquire the ability to launch missiles from submarines, it would mean a considerable military advantage for the recalcitrant nation, as it is more hard to detect missiles before they are fired from submerged vessels than ones fired from land.
As well as the missile launches and nuclear detonations, Dr. Karako cites satellite orbits and re-entries, and solid rocket engine tests, saying that “North Korea’s missile development seems to be outpacing our deployment of regional missile defenses”. It said a typical submarine-launched ballistic missile can travel at least 300 kilometers (186 miles).
The US Strategic Command said it had detected and tracked a North Korean submarine missile launch but it did not pose a threat to North America.
“We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further destabilize the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and worldwide obligations”.
According to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, the U.S., South Korea and Japan agreed this week in Seoul to push for the complete ban on crude oil exports to the North in retaliation if another nuclear test is launched. North Korea’s foreign minister defended the jailing of the American university student for alleged anti-state activities but told The AP on Saturday, April 23, 2016, he would inform authorities in Pyongyang there is great concern over the student’s fate and noted that other detainees have been released before serving their full sentences. They say the North could be making efforts to promote military accomplishments to its people to make up for a lack of tangible economic achievements ahead of the Workers’ Party congress, the first since 1980.