South Korea says North Korea likely launched a ballistic missile from a submarine

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with soldiers who participated in the military parade to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army, in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 29, 2022. KCNA via Reuters

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  • Submarine launches escalation ahead of major diplomatic events
  • North Korea may conduct a nuclear test as soon as this month – officials
  • South Korea seeks deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear threat aide

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea fired a ballistic missile from a submarine on Saturday, South Korea said, in an escalation ahead of the inauguration of a South Korean president who has vowed to take a hard line against North and South Korea. Visit of the President of the United States.

The South Korean military said North Korea fired what it believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile into the sea off its east coast around 0507 GMT Saturday from near Sinpo, where North Korea maintains submarines and test-fire equipment. SLBMs.

Japan also said the projectile was a short-range ballistic missile. Defense Minister, Nobuo Kishi, said North Korea’s recent development in technology related to nuclear missiles and repeated launches of ballistic missiles threatens the region and the international community.

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“This is totally unacceptable,” he told reporters, adding that Japan will continue to “radically enhance defense capabilities” to protect its citizens from such security threats, in close cooperation with the United States, South Korea and other allies.

The launch comes three days before Yoon Seok-yeol’s inauguration on Tuesday as South Korean president, and ahead of his May 21 summit with US President Joe Biden in Seoul.

South Korea’s National Intelligence Service chief Park Ji-won said North Korea may conduct a nuclear test between the inauguration and Biden’s visit, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Kishi said it is possible that North Korea will complete preparations for nuclear tests as early as this month and carry out more provocative actions.

This is also in line with a US assessment that Pyongyang was preparing for its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and could be ready to conduct a test there as early as this month. Read more

said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

It also creates tension to strengthen the internal cohesion of the system in the face of conditions such as preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Intelligence chief Park Yonhap said Tunnel No. 3 at the Punggye-ri site designed to test smaller nuclear devices, without going into details.

South Korean and US analysts and officials said that North Korea appears to be restoring Tunnel No. 3 at the East Coast site, which was used for underground nuclear explosions before it closed in 2018 amid denuclearization talks with Washington and Seoul. Read more

Japan and South Korea estimated that Saturday’s missile had flown at an altitude of 50-60 kilometers (30-40 miles) and up to 600 kilometers (370 miles).

Kim Sung-han, Yoon’s nominee for National Security Adviser, said in a statement that the Yoon administration will pool its capabilities as soon as possible to take basic measures against North Korean provocations and practical deterrence against nuclear missile threats.

South Korea and Japan said North Korea on Wednesday launched a ballistic missile toward the sea off its east coast, after Pyongyang pledged to develop its nuclear forces “as quickly as possible.” Read more

“Instead of accepting invitations for dialogue, the Kim regime appears to be preparing to test a tactical nuclear warhead. The timing will depend greatly on when the underground tunnels and modified hardware technology are ready,” said EHA University professor Leif Eric Easley. in Seoul.

“The seventh nuclear test will be the first since September 2017 and will raise tensions on the Korean peninsula, increasing the risks of miscalculation and miscommunication between the Kim regime and the upcoming Yun administration.”

Last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to speed up the development of his country’s nuclear arsenal. He presided over a huge military parade displaying intercontinental ballistic missiles and what appeared to be ballistic missiles mounted on trucks and launch vehicles. Read more

In October, North Korea test-fired a new ballistic missile smaller than a submarine, in a move analysts said could be faster than sending a functioning missile submarine. Read more

Yoon said, in an interview with VOA released on Saturday, that meeting with Kim Jong Un is not off the table but needs tangible results.

“There is no reason to avoid the meeting,” Yun said. “However, if we cannot show any results, or the results are for show only and have no actual results in denuclearization… it will not help the progress of the inter-Korean relationship.”

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(Reporting by Joyce Lee in Seoul and Kantaro Komiya in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Su Hyang Choi and Hyunhye Shin. Editing by William Mallard

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