Korea missile test adds to 'Military First' celebration

by Fredrick Graves August 28, 2016, 8:28

The launch from the submarine came two days after South Korea and the USA began annual military exercises in the South that North Korea condemns as a preparation for invasion, and has threatened retaliation.

A screen in Seoul shows a news bulletin on August 24, 2016, reporting that North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The KCNA quoted Kim as saying the successful test showed that North Korea had joined the "front ranks" of military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capabilities.

Right: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches the launch through binoculars, accompanied by officials near the launch site.

North Korea fired two missiles from submarines earlier this year, but South Korean defense officials believe they exploded in midair after flying less than 30 kilometers (18 miles).

Previous SLBM launches by North Korea ended in failure and observers pointed out some technical flaws in the missiles.

The Security Council in March imposed the toughest sanctions on North Korea in two decades, reflecting growing anger at Pyongyang's latest nuclear test and rocket launch in defiance of a ban on all nuclear-related activity.

In a photo distributed on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, by the North Korean government, a missile is launched at an undisclosed location in North Korea. The U.S. Strategic Command said it tracked the launch of the presumed KN-11 missile into the Sea of Japan.

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The UN met last night but is yet to publicly condemned the launch, which is effectively a test of Pyongyang's nuclear strike capability.

The foreign ministers of China, Japan and South Korea made a rare display of unity Wednesday to sharply criticize the DPRK's latest submarine missile test.

He said South Korea should "wake up and kick the Americans out".

A South Korean source familiar with the situation said the projectile could have flown over 1,000 kilometers if it was launched at a regular angle.

Pyongyang acknowledged Thursday that the missile was launched at a higher angle. It has also ramped up its saber-rattling after the USA and South Korea reached an agreement to implement a missile-defense system in the South.

Earlier this month, North Korea fired a land-launched ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, drawing outrage from Tokyo. At the same time, it warned Japan and South Korea to "abandon the Cold War mentality and view the peaceful rise of China as vigour to regional development", while avoiding "being the tools for some countries outside the region to undermine regional stability". Having that capability could significantly strengthen Pyongyang's ability to conduct strikes on US positions in South Korea, and possibly on USA bases in Japan as well.

"There are many problems existing between the three countries, but China, Japan and South Korea are the three biggest economy entities in Asia". Experts said that had the altitude been adjusted to the normal level, the SLBM could have flown as far as 2,000 kilometers, far enough to reach USA military bases in Okinawa.

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