North Korea launches possible ballistic missile, eighth test this year
The country launched a possible submarine-launched missile on Tuesday.
Seoul, South Korea – North Korea launched a possible submarine ballistic missile Off the east coast Tuesday morning, according to neighbors South Korea Japan, in the eighth missile test launch this year alone.
“Our military detected an eastward firing of a missile from a site near Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, around 10:17 a.m.,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Won In-chol, told reporters.
The unidentified ballistic missile was allegedly launched from a submarine and flew 370 miles at an altitude of 37 miles, according to the South Korean military.
“It is likely that these are new small SLBMs that North Korea displayed last week at an arms exhibition,” Shin Bem-chul, director of the Center for Diplomacy and Security at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, told ABC News.
Another analyst told ABC News that Kim Jong Un is developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles to create a more viable nuclear deterrent capable of blackmailing his neighbors and the United States.
“North Korea cannot appear politically far behind in a regional arms race with its southern neighbor,” Leif Eric Easley, professor of international studies at Ewa Women’s University in Seoul, told ABC News.
Easley said that although the timing of the North Korean missile launch is largely driven by a technical schedule when tests are ready and useful, there is also a political factor.
“Pyongyang celebrates the founding of the ruling party and looks to raise national morale after harsh epidemic lockdowns. It is likely that the Kim regime would want to conduct missile tests in South Korea, at least in Pyongyang’s propaganda,” Easley said.
On the same day, the intelligence chiefs of South Korea, the United States and Japan held a closed-door trilateral meeting in Seoul to discuss outstanding issues on the Korean Peninsula, such as the security situation, according to South Korea’s National Intelligence.
Meanwhile, in Washington, South Korea’s top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, discussed the North’s missile launch over the phone with US Special Representative for North Korea Policy, Sung Kim. Noah happened to be in Washington for a meeting to discuss ways to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table the day before.
North Korea’s missile launch comes just two weeks after Pyongyang made a conditional peace offer to Seoul on reconnecting the military hotline. For Seol, it was a symbolic gesture that their relations could see improvement.
While Pyongyang sparked international concern by launching another missile just 19 days after its latest missile test, South Korea’s presidential office convened the Presidential National Security Council immediately after the missile launch.
“Members of the council expressed their deep regret that North Korea’s launch took place while active consultations are underway with relevant countries such as the United States to advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in an official statement.
North Korea’s last test launch of a ballistic missile from the sea over the sea was in October 2019.
ABC News’s Shihu Li contributed to this report.