SEOUL – South Korea has claimed its first successful underwater test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile; hours after North Korea blasted two ballistic missiles into the sea.
Reports quoting South Korean authorities cited that the country is listed as seventh in the world with the advanced technology and raising the prospect of a regional arms race. The country has also become the first nation to test fire this technology without having nuclear weapons.
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President Moon Jae-in supervised the test, which came hours after nuclear-armed North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea. It claims that a missile fired from its newly commissioned submarine Ahn Chang-ho of the 3,000-tonne class flew a certain distance before hitting a predetermined target.
The development depicted a flex of South Korean military capabilities as it seeks to counter the threat posed by the arch-rival North Korea, which is under international sanctions owing to nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
Defense experts termed the development ‘extraordinary’ as both Koreas tested ballistic missiles on the same day showing an alarming pace in the arms race that is at some level concerning for world leaders. The East Asian nation has sufficient deterrence to respond to North Korea’s provocations at any time, experts said.
Earlier in the day, the North Korean authorities fired two short-range ballistic missiles from South Pyongan province into the sea off its east coast. A statement issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff cited that the missiles flew about 800 kilometers at a maximum altitude of around 60 kilometers.
The missiles fired by North Korea were a test of a new ‘railway-borne missile system’ designed as a potential counterstrike to any forces that threaten the country.
Experts also believed that the timing of Pyongyang’s launch was an unmistakable signal to China, the North’s key diplomatic supporter and main partner for trade and aid although at times their relationship has been deeply strained.