(DailyVantage.com) – North Korea is no stranger to ruffling feathers. Kim Jong-un always seems to be pushing the boundaries in terms of the country’s militarization and weapons development, despite pushback and sanctions from the US and other nations. Now, it seems the country is trying out a new weapon, and its timing seems awfully suspicious.
On October 19, South Korea’s military reported its northern counterpart fired what they assume was a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). While it came from North Korea’s east coast, it was initially unclear whether the weapon was fired from a submarine or test barge.
The missile reportedly flew to an altitude of 37 miles and covered a distance of about 270 miles. The less-than-suspicious timing of the test-firing coincided with a closed-door meeting taking place between the United States, Japan and South Korea. The topic at hand? Issues in the North Korean Peninsula.
North Korea Confirms Suspicions
On October 20, state media confirmed North Korea indeed did test-fire a new type of SLBM near Sinpo. Several photos surfaced of the testing, as well. The missile landed in the waters off the coast of Japan.
— Global: MilitaryInfo (@Global_Mil_Info) October 19, 2021
The tension with North Korea is nothing new, continuing for decades despite former President Donald Trump’s attempts at diplomacy. The US and South Korea have tried to resume talks with North Korea, but Kim has shunned attempts at diplomacy, claiming his country needs to build his military for self-defense due to the hostility the two countries continue to display towards North Korea.
Following talks between Trump and Kim, Pyongyang’s military arsenal has steadily improved and increased. North Korea continues to ignore warnings to stop provocations, instead choosing to forge ahead with development and testing.
Some analysts believe the incident is simply North Korea preening, showing the country can keep up with its perceived enemies. According to Leif-Eric Easley, an Ewha Womans University professor, “North Korea cannot… afford [to appear] to fall behind in a regional arms race with its southern neighbor.” Another analyst downplayed the threat saying, “It’s an interesting development, but with only one submarine in the water that can launch… one or two of these, it doesn’t change much.”
Regardless of whether the situation is an immediate threat, officials agree it’s worth keeping an eye on. Taking the seriousness of the situation into account, the UN Security Council is holding an emergency closed-door meeting between the UK and the US on Wednesday, October 20.
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