N. Korea makes a splash

Launches sub­ma­rine-ca­pa­ble bal­lis­tic mis­sile

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - JACK KIM

SEOUL — North Korea fired what may be a sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile (SLBM) Wed­nes­day, which would be the first test in three years of what had been a rel­a­tively young but rapidly pro­gress­ing pro­gram to de­liver nu­clear weapons.

The launch comes hours af­ter the North an­nounced it would re­sume nu­clear talks with the United States this week­end, po­ten­tially end­ing a months-long dead­lock that fol­lowed a vow by North Korea despot Kim Jong Un and U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to make progress.

The ex­act type of the mis­sile and the launch plat­form re­main un­clear, but it ap­pears to be a step that “pushes the en­ve­lope,” said Joshua Pol­lack, a lead­ing ex­pert on nu­clear and mis­sile pro­lif­er­a­tion and editor of Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Re­view.

A mis­sile was launched from the sea soon af­ter 7 a.m. Wed­nes­day, about 17 km from the coastal city of Won­san, the site of one of North Korea’s mil­i­tary bases used for pre­vi­ous mis­sile launches.

Ja­pan ini­tially said two mis­siles were launched but later clar­i­fied it was likely one pro­jec­tile that went through stage sep­a­ra­tion.

The pro­jec­tile hit the wa­ters in Ja­pan’s Ex­clu­sive Eco­nomic Zone (EEZ), the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment said.

South Korea’s De­fence Min­is­ter Jeong Kyeong-doo said an Aegis de­stroyer de­tected one mis­sile launch, which flew 450 km in a lofted tra­jec­tory 910 km high.

It is un­clear if the mis­sile was launched from a sub­ma­rine or a plat­form at sea.

A U.S. of­fi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said that, ac­cord­ing to ini­tial in­tel­li­gence, the mis­sile was a sub­ma­rine-ca­pa­ble bal­lis­tic mis­sile launched from a plat­form at sea.

If the mis­sile had been launched on a stan­dard tra­jec­tory, the range would have been up to 1,900 km, which would put it in the medium-range mis­sile class. That mis­sile would have all of South Korea and Ja­pan within range.

Kcna via REUTERS

What ap­pears to be a sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile (SLBM) takes flight in this im­age re­leased by North Korea’s Cen­tral News Agency yes­ter­day.

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