North Korea Confirms Ballistic Missile Launch

October 20, 2021 Topic: North Korea Region: Asia Blog Brand: Korea Watch Tags: North KoreaMissile TestJapanSouth KoreaSLBMs

North Korea Confirms Ballistic Missile Launch

North Korea’s eighth missile test of the year has drawn a lot of attention. 

Earlier this week, North Korea conducted the latest in a series of missile launches, one that was condemned by governments around the world.

On Wednesday, North Korea confirmed that the launch was in fact a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). NPR reported that it was North Korea’s eighth missile test of the year and that it coincided with the United States, South Korea and Japan holding meetings this week.

According to Yonhap News Agency, which cited North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the launch was conducted by the Academy of National Defense Science and was launched from “8.24 Yongung,” where the first missile of that kind was  ”successfully launched five years ago to demonstrate the military muscle of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).”

The regime also released a photo of the launch and added that leader Kim Jong-un did not personally inspect the launch.

“It clarified that the new type SLBM, into which lots of advanced control guidance technologies including flank mobility and gliding skip mobility are introduced, will greatly contribute to putting the defense technology of the country on a high level and to enhancing the underwater operational capability of our navy,” KCNA said.

Yonhap also said that it appeared the missile was one of the ones that were exhibited last week during Kim’s remarks to mark the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

“The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK to refrain from any further destabilizing acts,” the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement this week. “The U.S. commitment to the defense of (South Korea) and Japan, remains ironclad.”

According to CNN, the U.N. Security Council will hold a closed-door meeting Wednesday to discuss the test, which appears to have violated international law.

Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, told CNN that SLBMs, due to the submarines that carry them, are not much of a threat to the United States

“The weak link in their submarine missile program is the submarines, and that is an enormous technical challenge for the North Koreans,” Mount told CNN.

“The main thing we do not know about this launch—about whether it was done from an actual submarine or from a barge or some sort of platform,” NPR’s Anthony Kuhn said while speaking on the program Morning Edition.

“Now,” said Kuhn, “North Korea has already launched from these barges, but if it launched from a sub now, that would really be a breakthrough because North Korea is trying to put together a submarine fleet, which when under the water, would be hard to detect. It could survive a strike on their land-based arsenal, and it could launch nuclear missiles at the U.S. from, for example, the Pacific Ocean. But they’re a long way from doing that. And a step such as firing from a sub would be a big breakthrough.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters