N. Korea says its latest ballistic missile test was launched from a submarine

The BrahMos missile takes off from India's main missile testing center in the eastern state of Orissa state, in Balasore district, 230 kilometers (144 miles) from Bhubaneshwar, India, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. (AP Photo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Oct 20, 2021, CNN. North Korea said it successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile from a submarine on Tuesday, state news agency KCNA reported Wednesday, CNN reported.

KCNA said the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was launched from the “8.24 Yongung” sub — the same vessel used to test North Korea’s first SLBM in 2016.

The report said “lots of advanced control guidance technologies” had been included in the missile, which would “greatly contribute to putting the defence technology of the country on a high level and to enhancing the underwater operational capability of our navy.”

Japan and South Korea reported the launch of at least one ballistic missile on Tuesday, which they said was fired from the sea near the port city of Sinpo, Hamgyong province, at about 10 a.m. local time Tuesday (9 p.m. ET Monday). Sinpo is home to a North Korean shipyard.

The UN Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss North Korea in the wake of the latest missile test, a UN diplomat with knowledge of the meeting told CNN. Pyongyang is barred from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons under international law.

Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said North Korea had previously tested only a small number of SLBMs, despite claiming for a number of years to have the capacity.

Mount said North Korea viewed SLBMs as another method to get past the missile defenses of the United States and its allies, specifically South Korea and Japan. “They’re concerned our missile defenses nullify their deterrent capabilities,” he said.

But Mount added SLBMs are only as good as the vessels that carry them, and the US military was more than a match for North Korea’s noisy submarines.

“The weak link in their submarine missile program is the submarines, and that is an enormous technical challenge for the North Koreans,” he said, adding Pyongyang’s vessels were so outmatched, the SLBMs were effectively a “redundant capability.”

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