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North Korea's Latest Launch Was a 'Grave Moment'

New missile can be launched from submarine
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2019 3:43 AM CDT
In this Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, photo provided Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, by the North Korean government, an underwater-launched missile lifts off in the waters off North Korea's eastern coastal town of...   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)
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(Newser) – North Korea has confirmed that its latest missile launch involved a new kind of ballistic missile—and it's one that has other countries very worried. Pyongyang says the missile launched early Wednesday was a Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile, which state news agency KCNA said "ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces' threat" to the country, reports Reuters. Analysts say that the missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, was probably fired not from a submarine but from a barge built for an underwater launch, the AP reports. The final stage of testing for the medium-range missile will be a launch from a submarine, says Kyungnam University expert Kim Dong-yub.

Kim estimates that the missile, which was launched in vertical mode and flew 280 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan, could have flown up to 1,240 miles if launched on a standard trajectory. Analysts say the launch demonstrates that the country can now launch missiles far from its own territory—and missiles launched from submarines are harder to detect. In July, Pyongyang released photos of a newly built submarine. Its older ones have a range that could make a one-way trip to near Hawaii possible. BBC analyst Ankit Panda calls the launch a "grave moment for North East Asian regional security—and a reminder of what has been lost over nearly two years of all-show-no-substance diplomacy." (The missile was launched in an apparent show of force hours after new talks with the US were announced.)

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