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North Korea claims successful test of submarine-fired missile

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A man watches a TV news program showing a file footage of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, April 23, 2016. North Korea on Saturday fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile from a submarine off its northeast coast, South Korean defense officials said, Pyongyang’s latest effort to expand its military might in the face of pressure by its neighbors and Washington. The Korean letters at top left read: “North Korea fires a submarine-launched ballistic missile or SLBM.”

SEOUL, South Korea >> North Korea said Sunday that it successfully test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine and warned of its growing ability to cut down its enemies with a “dagger of destruction.” South Korea couldn’t immediately confirm the claim of success in what marks Pyongyang’s latest effort to expand its military might in face of pressure by its neighbors and Washington.

Hours before the announcement, South Korean military officials said the North fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile from a submarine off its eastern coast. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the projectile traveled about 30 kilometers (19 miles) Saturday evening. That’s a much shorter than the typical distance of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, which can fly at least 300 kilometers (186 miles).

A successful test from a submarine would be a worrying development because mastering the ability to fire missiles from submerged vessels would make it harder for outsiders to detect what North Korea is doing before it launches, giving it the potential to surprise its enemies.

While South Korean experts say it’s unlikely that North Korea currently possesses an operational submarine that can fire multiple missiles, they acknowledge that the North is making progress on such technology.

In a typical example of overblown rhetoric, the North’s Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un observed from a test facility as the ballistic missile surged from a submarine and spewed out a “massive stream of flames” as it soared into the sky. It said the missile met all technical thresholds.

The KCNA report said that after the test Kim declared that the North now has another strong nuclear strike method and also the ability to stick a “dagger of destruction” into the heads of its enemies, South Korea and the United States, at any time.

The KCNA report didn’t say when or where the recent test-firing took place. South Korean officials said the launch on Saturday took place near the North Korean coastal town of Sinpo, where analysts have previously detected efforts by the North to develop submarine-launched ballistic missile systems.

The North last test-launched a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Dec. 25, but that test was seen as failure, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. The North first claimed of a successful submarine-launched missile test in May last year.

U.S. Strategic Command, headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, said its “systems detected and tracked what we assess was a North Korean submarine missile launch from the Sea of Japan.” A statement from Strategic Command added that the missile launch “did not pose a threat to North America.”

U.S. military forces “remain vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations and are fully committed to working closely with our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies to maintain security,” it said.

The U.S. State Department would not comment on the reports of Saturday’s launch, but noted “launches using ballistic missile technology are a clear violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

“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 international obligations,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

North Korea has recently sent a barrage of missiles and artillery shells into the sea amid ongoing annual military drills between the United States and South Korea. Pyongyang says the drills are a preparation for an invasion of the North. The firings also come as the North expresses anger about toughened international sanctions over its recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

North Korea’s belligerence may also be linked to a major ruling party congress next month meant to further cement leader Kim Jong Un’s grip on power. Promoting military accomplishments could be an attempt to overshadow a lack of economic achievements ahead of the Workers’ Party congress, the first since 1980.

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    • This looks like a tactical nuclear weapon fired from a submarine torpedo tube. Recently there have been reports that the Koreans have miniaturised their a-bombs.

      So this missile when fired from a Korean submarine could take out a US aircraft carrier. The US has the same capability, but hopefully we can detect the Korean submarine before it fires.

      The Koreans can launch a satellite in orbit over Korea to detect American warships. So they really don’t need good sonar to target US warships who are in disputed Korean waters. But they’ll probavly target a S. Korean ship in disputed waters first to show that they can do it from their Korean waters.

      It’s about time that we negotiate boundaries in these disputed waters instead of running US
      Korea exercises in these waters to practice for an invasion. That only invites trouble.

  • Well this sort of kicks things into another gear. We can joke about how behind they are, but this should cause concern because they don’t have to build as long range of a missile with this in the makings.

      • Nope. These tactical weapons have large but limited kill ranges. They can probably shoot from 50 miles away – well within their own waters but outside the weapon kill range.

        If they came into the disputed waters where America also claims sovereignty, then we could claim that we fired in self-defense in a pre-emptive attack. We have no grounds to fire on them in their own waters.

        The N. Koreans would not go into disputed waters to provoke an American attack and invasion.
        .

  • THEY’RE SECRETLY TESTING A PROTOTYPE ROCKET TO COMPETE WITH CHINA’S 2016 NEW YEAR’S EVE AERIAL FIREWORKS DISPLAY. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  • Should a been a coup by the people of N Korea to remove KIM from power a while back. And assassinate him. He’s a maniacal individual who’s murdered and let starve his own people.

    • Zero will probably throw in a couple billion dollars for them to keep it on the ground until he leaves office…it’ll be the next guy/gal”s problem.

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