New test ramps up pressure ahead of US, South Korea, Japan meeting on the possible resumption of dialogue with Pyongyang
North Korea on Wednesday confirmed that it fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) a day earlier, the country’s first underwater test-launch since 2019.
The successful test bolsters North Korea’s defense technology and enhances the underwater operational capability of its navy, state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, along with a series of photos.
It said the new type of SLBM has “lots of advanced control guidance technologies including flank mobility and gliding skip mobility,” adding that the launch was carried out from “the same 8.24 Yongung ship” used for North Korea’s first SLBM test in 2016.
North Korea’s eighth missile test this year and fifth since September comes as Pyongyang pushes back against what it sees as “hostile policies” of the US and South Korea.
The SLBM test-launch was carried out as Washington, Seoul, and Tokyo prepared for a trilateral meeting on North Korea, including a possible resumption of talks and sending humanitarian aid to the country of around 25 million people.
Sung Kim, Washington’s special envoy for North Korea, is also planning to visit Seoul later this week amid signals by US President Joe Biden’s administration that it is open to resuming talks with Pyongyang.
Reacting to the latest missile test, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said his country will shore up its defense capability.
“A strong defense capability is always aimed at ensuring peace,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Moon as saying at the opening of a defense exhibition on Wednesday.
“The Republic of Korea seeks to build a smart and strong-armed force based on state-of-the-art technology,” he added.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has also used a similar rationale as Pyongyang continues to defy UN sanctions to conduct missile tests, maintaining that it only aims to deter “hostile forces” and does not seek war with Washington or Seoul.