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North Korea confirms test of new submarine-launched missile

·2-min read
This picture released by state media shows the launch of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile near the city of Sinpo (AFP via Getty Images)
This picture released by state media shows the launch of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile near the city of Sinpo (AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea has confirmed it successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile from a submarine.

State news outlet KCNA said the missile had “advanced control guidance technologies”, which could make it more difficult to detect.

The test-launch took place on Tuesday near the city of Sinpo, where Pyongyang has a major shipyard building submarines. It came just a day after South Korea’s military reported that Pyongyang had fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off its east coast.

North Korean state media claimed its new missile had “controlling and homing” technology which would allow it to move laterally. It added that the missile was launched from the same vessel used in its first SLBM tests five years ago.

Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, was not reported to have attended the test.

Photos released by the KCNA of Tuesday’s launch appear to show a thinner, smaller missile than North Korea’s earlier SLBM designs (AFP via Getty Images)
Photos released by the KCNA of Tuesday’s launch appear to show a thinner, smaller missile than North Korea’s earlier SLBM designs (AFP via Getty Images)

The country has conducted several missile tests in recent years with short-range ballistic missiles that analysts say are designed to evade missile defence systems in South Korea.

Pyongyang has been slowly rebuilding its military arsenal following the breakdown of denuclearisation talks with Donald Trump’s administration in 2019.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday urged the North to refrain from further “provocations”, stressing that President Biden wished to engage diplomatically with Pyongyang over its weapons programmes.

Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s foreign minister, called for Washington to ease sanctions on Pyongyang if they return to the negotiating table.

Photos released by the KCNA of Tuesday’s launch appear to show a thinner, smaller missile than North Korea’s earlier SLBM designs. Analysts said this could allow Pyongyang and bring them closer to fielding a ballistic missile submarine (SSB).

Joseph Dempsey, a defence researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: “Though a smaller North Korea SLBM design could enable more missiles per boat, it could also enable smaller less challenging SSB designs, including easier integration/conversion on pre-existing submarines.”

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