South Korea launches first ballistic missile from submarine, seventh country to do so

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South Korea on Wednesday successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile amid growing nuclear threats from North Korea, demonstrating its military capability in East Asia.

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The submarine-based missile launch, which Defense Ministry officials said “precisely hit the target”, came just hours after North Korea fired twin ballistic missiles off its east coast, targeting Japan and South Korea and the region. exposed the growing nuclear dangers.

With this successful missile launch, South Korea became the first country without nuclear weapons to develop such a system, joining the ranks of the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and India with its domestic technology.


Officials confirmed that President Moon Jae-in took part in the underwater ejection of the missile aboard the new 3,000-ton class Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine last month.

A statement from Mr Jae-in’s office said the domestically produced missile weapon would help South Korea avoid potential external threats.

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Aimed at countering all-pervasive threats with this missile, the statement from the Korean leader’s office said: “…is expected to play an important role in building self-defense capability and peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

It said the military has developed other new missiles, including a supersonic cruise missile to be deployed in the near future, and a new ballistic missile that has “heavy counterattack capability” to fire large warheads.

The South Korean military also successfully tested a solid fuel propulsion system that could be used in space vehicles, the statement said.

According to experts, firing missiles and revealing high-profile weapons is certainly not the same thing for South Korea as it could unnecessarily provoke the North. Observers say the launch of the submarine-launched ballistic missile is a sign of South Korea’s response to criticism that it is too soft on the North, as it continues to improve relations with the Korean neighbour.

Japan and South Korea condemned the ballistic missiles launched by North Korea on Wednesday morning and said they directly violated UN resolutions banning North Korea from any ballistic missile activities. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the missile launch “disgraceful” and called the act a threat to the region.

The test comes just days after North Korea announced it would test a newly-developed cruise missile twice over the weekend, an artillery it described as a “strategic weapon of great importance”. The missile is capable of hitting targets 1,500 km away, covering Japanese and US military installations, before falling into the sea.


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