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ConflictsNorth Korea

N Korea confirms 'submarine-launched ballistic missile' test

October 20, 2021

North Korea has confirmed that it tested a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile on Tuesday, making it the fifth in a round of missile tests by the country since September.

The image shows a new type of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) North Korea test-fired from waters the previous day
The test comes as Pyongyang increases pressure on Washington and Seoul to abandon policies which it deems hostileImage: Yonhap/Picture alliance

North Korea has successfully test fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, state media confirmed on Wednesday as the country seeks to flaunt its ever-expanding military arsenal.

The confirmation came a day after South Korea's military said that it believed Pyongyang had fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) off its east coast.

The test was carried out near Sinpo — the site of a major naval dockyard — and was the fifth in a series of missile launches since September.

The missile had "lots of advanced control guidance technologies," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Tuesday's missile was test launched from the same submarine used to conduct North Korea's first SLBM test in 2016, KCNA reported. 

Washington says 'urgent' need for talks

The test comes as Pyongyang increases pressure on Washington and Seoul to abandon policies which it deems hostile, like the joint US-South Korea military exercises and international sanctions on the North.

The White House called on North Korea to desist from further "provocations" and said that the test highlighted the "urgent" need for talks with Pyongyang over its weapons programs, with spokeswoman Jen Psaki telling the media Tuesday: "Our offer remains to meet anywhere, anytime, without preconditions."

The launch also comes ahead of a visit to Seoul by US President Joe Biden's special envoy on North Korea, Sung Kim, to discuss with allies the possibility of reviving dialogue with Pyongyang.

Germany 'vehemently condemns' test

A German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday that Berlin "vehemently condemns the recent test of a ballistic missile by North Korea."

"With this test, North Korea has once again violated its obligations under relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and endangered international and regional security and stability," the spokesperson said in a statement. 

"North Korea's repeated cruise and ballistic missile tests in the past weeks have raised political tensions in an irresponsible manner."

Germany reiterated calls for Pyongyang to accept Washington and Seoul's offers of talks and respect its obligations under international law. 

Missile 'enhances' operational capability of North's navy

Photos released in the Rodong Sinmun —  the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.—  showed the black and white missile surfacing from water, leaving behind a trail of fire and smoke, and an emerging submarine. 

The missile appeared to be thinner and smaller than the earlier designs of North Korea's SLBM.

The new type SLBM featured advanced control guidance technologies including "flank mobility and gliding skip mobility," KCNA said.

"(The SLBM) will greatly contribute to putting the defence technology of the country on a high level and to enhancing the underwater operational capability of our navy," KCNA added.

fb, dvv/sri (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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