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North Korea Test-Fires Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile

by YuGee / Aug 24, 2016 05:53 AM EDT
North Korea reportedly conducted a submarine-launched missile ballistics test (Photo by Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images)

On August 24, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in waters off its east coast that seems to be a protest opposing the ongoing military exercise between the United States and South Korea.

The JCS said that North Korea launched the SLBM from waters near Sinpo at around 5:30 a.m.

The Korea Times reported that according to the military, the missile flew approximately 500 kilometers, which is an improvement compared to the previous launches. The missile fell in Japan's air defense identification zone.

Tensions heightened when North Korea warned to engage in a "pre-emptive nuclear strike" on the South and its ally, the United States' yearly military drill.

On Monday, the two ally countries held the two-week yearly joint military drill that involves 75,000 troops. North Korea previously criticized the said military exercise and claimed that it is a rehearsal for a northward invasion.

The JCS said, "North Korea's launch of the SLBM seemed to be aimed at raising military tension in response to the Seoul-Washington military drill." It also added that the missile launch is a clear violation of applicable U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The military also said, "We will sternly and strongly respond to any provocation by North Korea."

If the North becomes successful in firing off SLBMs, it can create a new threat to regional security because they are especially hard to detect before they are launched.

Since Kim Jong Un assumed office in 2011, North Korea is believed to have fired over 30 ballistic missiles that include an intermediate Musudan ballistic missile, which some claim could fly as far as the U.S. territory of Guam.

Under pertinent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, North Korea is prohibited from developing ballistic missile technology. The UNSC gave the country its toughest sanctions over its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February this year.

North Korea stated in the past that it had developed breakthroughs in its nuclear and missile programs and a nuclear warhead that is small enough to be put on a missile, but the United States and South Korea are doubtful of this claim. 

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