North Korea fired a ballistic missile into the sea on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, the latest in a series of tests that analysts say could be a submarine-launched weapon.
The “unidentified ballistic missile” was fired from Sinpo into the sea east of the peninsula, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
“South Korean and US intelligence are analyzing closely for additional details,” it added.
Sinpo, from where the missile was fired, is a major naval shipyard and satellite images have previously shown submarines at the facility.
North is known to have developed a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and the first one was an underwater launch, although analysts said it was likely to be from a submerged platform rather than a submarine.
“There is a high probability that the North has launched an SLBM,” said Shin Beom-chul, a researcher at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy.
It comes after the nuclear-armed North – which invaded its neighbor in 1950 – in recent weeks tested a long-range cruise missile, a train-launched weapon and what it said was a hypersonic warhead, Which gave rise to global concern.
It also hosted a rare weapons exhibition, showcasing the giant International Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that surfaced at last year’s night-time military parade.
“The root cause of the North’s provocation is that the US is not changing its stance on the talks,” Shin told AFP.
Inaugurating the arms exhibition, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un – who has overseen rapid progress in the North’s military technology at the cost of international sanctions – blamed the United States for the tension, Washington’s claim. Rejected that he does not have hostile intentions.
With some regional arms race developing on the peninsula, the South last month tested its first SLBM, placed it among the elite group of nations that have demonstrated proven technology, and unveiled a supersonic cruise missile.
After Tuesday’s launch, the South’s presidential office said it was calling a meeting of the National Security Council.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said two ballistic missiles were fired, calling the launch “very regrettable”.