Py­ongyang alarms ri­vals

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

North Korea yes­ter­day fired what ap­peared to be a bal­lis­tic mis­sile from a sub­ma­rine off its north­east coast, South Korean de­fence of­fi­cials said.

The move is Py­ongyang’s lat­est ef­fort to ex­pand its mil­i­tary might in the face of pres­sure by its neigh­bours and Wash­ing­ton.

The Satur­day evening launch of what the of­fi­cials said was pre­sum­ably a sub­marinelaunched bal­lis­tic mis­sile took place near the North Korean coastal town of Sinpo.

A suc­cess­ful test from a sub­mari n e would be a wor­ry­ing de­vel­op­ment be­cause mas­ter­ing the abil­ity to fire mis­siles from sub­merged ves­sels would make it harder for out­siders to de­tect what North Korea is do­ing.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a state­ment that the pro­jec­tile fired by the North on Satur­day trav­elled about 30 kilo­me­ters. It said a typ­i­cal sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile can travel at least 300km.

The North last test-launched a sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile on De­cem­ber 25, but that was seen as fail­ure, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

"We call on North Korea to re­frain from ac­tions that fur­ther desta­bilise the re­gion and fo­cus in­stead on tak­ing con­crete steps to­ward ful­fill­ing its com­mit­ments and in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions," said State De­part­ment spokesman John Kirby.

North Korea has re­cently sent a bar­rage of mis­siles and ar­tillery shells into the sea amid on­go­ing an­nual mil­i­tary drills be­tween the United States and South Korea. Py­ongyang says the drills are a prepa­ra­tion for an in­va­sion of the North. The fir­ings also come as the North ex­presses anger about tough­ened in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions over its re­cent nu­clear test and long-range rocket launch.

North Korea’s bel­liger­ence may also be linked to a ma­jor rul­ing party congress next month meant to fur­ther ce­ment leader Kim Jong-Un’s grip on power.

DESPOT: Kim Jong-Un

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