N. Korea Accused of Continuing Its 'Provocative Streak'

South Korea says its neighbor launched ballistic missile on Saturday, likely from submarine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 7, 2022 9:30 AM CDT
N. Korea Accused of Continuing Its 'Provocative Streak'
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, Kim Jong Un delivers a speech during a military parade to mark the 90th anniversary of North Korea's army in Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 25. Independent journalists weren't given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed...   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

North Korea flight-tested a ballistic missile that was likely fired from a submarine on Saturday, South Korea's military said, continuing a provocative streak in weapons demonstrations that may culminate with a nuclear test in the coming weeks or months. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launch occurred from waters near the eastern port city of Sinpo, where North Korea has a major shipyard building submarines, per the AP. It said the short-range missile flew 372 miles at a maximum altitude of 37 miles, but it didn't immediately provide details about the submarine that would have been involved in the launch. South Korean and US intelligence officials were analyzing the launch, the military said, describing it as a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a "serious threatening act that harms international peace and stability."

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters that the missile fell outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone and that no damage to aircraft or vessels was reported. Suh Hoon, who's South Korea's national security director, and other senior officials denounced the launch during an emergency meeting and urged North Korea to return to long-stalled talks aimed at defusing the nuclear standoff, Seoul's presidential office said. It was apparently North Korea's first demonstration of a submarine-launched ballistic missile system since October last year, when it fired a new short-range missile from the 8.24 Yongung—its only known submarine capable of launching a missile. The October underwater launch was the North's first in two years.

So far this year, North Korea has fired missiles 15 times. They include the country's first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017 in March, which demonstrated a potential range to reach the entirety of the US mainland. A US State Department spokesperson said during a briefing Friday that the United States assesses North Korea could be ready to conduct a nuclear test at its Punggye-ri test site as early as this month. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has punctuated his recent missile tests with statements warning that the North could proactively use its nuclear weapons if threatened or provoked. Experts say such rhetoric possibly portends an escalatory nuclear doctrine that would create greater concerns for South Korea and Japan.

(More North Korea stories.)

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