North Korea, earlier this week, conducted its eighth missile test of the year, one that the regime later confirmed was a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), conducted by the Academy of National Defense Science.
“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,” North Korean news agency KCNA said of the launch.
The missile launch was condemned by multiple governments, including those of South Korea and the United States.
“The United States condemns these actions and calls on the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) 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.”
But now, North Korea says the latest launch isn’t “targeting” the United States
Yonhap News Service cited a spokesperson for North Korea’s foreign ministry, who said that the United States does not need to “worry or agonize" over the launch.
“If they don't take issues with our rightful exercise of sovereignty, there will never be an incident raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but if the U.S. and its followers make the wrong choice, it could serve as a catalyst for more grave and serious consequences," the foreign ministry said.
The spokesperson also called the planned United Nations Security Council session to address the launch as a “provocation.”
“As our test-launch was planned purely for national defense, not in consideration of or targeting the U.S., there is no need for it to worry or agonize," the ministry said.
Adam Mount, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, told CNN this week that SLBMs are not a huge 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.
Meanwhile, the Japan Times reported that the North Korean launch has inspired Japan to consider trying to get its own strike capability.
“North Korea’s remarkable nuclear and missile technology development is something we cannot overlook,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday. “Amid this situation, I’ve already given instructions to revise our country’s National Security Strategy, including considering the option of acquiring the so-called capability to strike enemy bases.”
Japan had also said that it believed North Korea had launched two missiles, while most other nations believed that there had only been one fired.
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.