North Korea fired what was believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from waters off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea’s military said, demonstrating its nuclear delivery capabilities just days before resuming denuclearization talks with the United States.
The missile, believed to be a type of Pukguksong, a North Korean SLBM, was fired from off the east coast near Wonsan in an easterly direction at 7:11 a.m. and flew around 450 kilometers at a maximum altitude of about 910 km, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).
The high altitude means the missile was fired at a high angle, and if it had been fired at a normal angle, it would have flown a much longer distance.
“Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture,” the JCS said, calling on the North to stop such acts that heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea’s presidential National Security Council (NSC) convened an emergency meeting and expressed strong concern over the launch.
U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said it is aware of the launch.
“We are aware of reports of a possible North Korean missile launch. We are continuing to monitor the situation and consulting closely with our allies in the region,” USFK spokesperson Col. Lee Peters said in a statement sent to Yonhap News Agency.
If confirmed, Wednesday’s launch will mark the North’s first SLBM test since August 2016, when it test-fired a Pukguksong-1 ballistic missile off the east coast, which flew about 500 km. So far this year, the North carried out missile and rocket launches 10 times, but all involved short-range projectiles.