North Korea Fires Ballistic Missile Ahead Of Nuclear Talks
North Korea fired what appeared to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile, Seoul said Wednesday, just days before Washington and Pyongyang were set to resume long-stalled nuclear talks.
Pyongyang frequently couples diplomatic overtures with military moves, as a way of maintaining pressure on negotiating partners, analysts say, and may believe this weapons system gives it added leverage.
The United States voiced alarm, with a State Department spokesperson calling on North Korea "to refrain from provocations" and "remain engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations" aimed at bringing stability and denuclearisation.
A proven submarine-based missile capability would take the North's arsenal to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a second-strike capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
In July, North Korean state media had published pictures of Kim Jong Un inspecting a new type of submarine, fuelling concerns that Pyongyang was pushing ahead with a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program.