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This Might Be North Korea's Biggest Message Since Biden Took Office

It tests what was likely a submarine-launched ballistic missile
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 19, 2021 2:48 AM CDT
North Korea Tests Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
South Korea's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Noh Kyu-duk, back right, listens as U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, speaks after holding a meeting, Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, at the U.S. State Department in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – North Korea on Tuesday fired at least one ballistic missile into the sea in what South Korea’s military described as a weapon likely designed for submarine-based launches, marking possibly the most significant demonstration of the North’s military might since President Biden took office. The launch came hours after the US reaffirmed its offer to resume diplomacy on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the AP reports. It underscored how the North continues to expand its military capabilities amid a pause in diplomacy. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement it detected the North firing one short-range ballistic missile it believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile from waters near the eastern port of Sinpo, and that the South Korean and US militaries were closely analyzing the launch.

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The South Korean military said the launch was made at sea, but it didn’t elaborate whether it was fired from a vessel submerged underwater or another launch platform above the sea’s surface. But Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said his country’s initial analysis suggested that the North fired two ballistic missiles. Japan’s coast guard issued a maritime safety advisory to ships but didn’t immediately know where the alleged missiles landed. The shipyard in Sinpo is a major defense industry hub where North Korea focuses its submarine production. In recent years, the North has also used Sinpo to develop ballistic weapons systems designed to be fired from submarines. North Korea had last tested an SLBM in October 2019. Analysts had expected the North to resume tests of such weapons after it rolled out at least two new SLBMs during military parades in 2020 and 2021.

(Read more North Korea stories.)

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