North Korea launches SLBM, amid fears of arms race

North Korea Tuesday (19/10) conducted a test launch of a submarine ballistic missile (SLBM), the South Korean military reported. The trial comes just a month after South Korea conducted its own SLBM test.

The South Korean military, which monitors the launch by North Korea, said North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile, presumably an SLBM, from an area off its east coast at around 10:17 am local time. The missile traveled about 430-450 kilometers, reaching a maximum altitude of 60 kilometers, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

Launch time is very important. Last month, South Korea became the eighth country to successfully test SLBM. On Thursday, South Korea will try to launch its first spacecraft.

South Korea is planning an ambitious defense modernization, which includes several new missiles, domestically produced fighter jets and even plans for its first aircraft carrier. South Korea, which hosts more than 28,000 American troops, is seeking to take more responsibility for its own defense, as well as take a bigger role in regional affairs, analysts say.

However, North Korea has denounced the South’s move as provocative and destabilizing. North Korea has vowed to continue testing weapons and accuses the United States and its allies of using double standards.

North Korea is barred from carrying out any ballistic missile activity – short-range or long-range – by a series of UN Security Council resolutions enacted to punish Pyongyang for its outlawed nuclear weapons program. [ka/ab]

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