North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile towards the waters in the East Sea on Saturday, just three days before the inauguration of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol. Analysts say the SLBM that has been launched this time is a weapon Pyongyang developed for maritime use by modifying a short-range ballistic missile and is capable of loading a nuclear warhead.
Watchers say that the North has started a course to test-fire its weapons systems for launching nuclear warheads in succession timed with the inauguration of the Yoon administration in the South.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday it detected a short-range ballistic missile in waters off Shinpo Port in North Hamkyong Province at 2:07 p.m. Saturday. The missile, which was launched from a 2,000-ton gorae class submarine, an aged submarine, reached the apex of 60 kilometers and flew some 60 kilometers towards the East Sea. The South Korean and U.S. authorities judge that the missile is the same type as the ‘mini SLBM,’ which the North fired in October last year.
With Pyongyang escalating provocations ahead of the inauguration of the new government in the South, President-elect Yoon expressed objection to the outgoing Moon Jae-in administration’s move to amend the act on ban on flyers to North Korea (revision bill to the inter-Korean relations development act).’ “The incumbent South Korean administration has placed a lot of legal restrictions to broadcasting towards North Korea or donations to the North,” Yoon said in an interview with Washington’s state-run Voice of America aired on Saturday. “They are ill-advised decision unless they are crucial to protecting the safety of people in inter-Korean border regions.”
Commenting on the planned transfer of the wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul, Yoon said, “By securing a significant level of monitoring, reconnaissance and intelligence capabilities, South Korea should have intelligence capability that allows the country to command joint operations.” He went on to say, “It is essential that South Korea further advances our defense system to be able to deter the North’s missile attacks,” in expressing his intention to adjust the speed and timing of the transfer.
Kyu-Jin Shin firstname.lastname@example.org