World Bulletin / News Desk
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Thursday that he underlined that the launch demonstrated that the country has “joined the front rank of the military powers fully equipped with nuclear attack capability”.
According to South Korea’s military, the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) fired Wednesday morning traveled around 500 kilometers (310 miles) -- marking the longest distance by such a projectile from the North -- before landing in waters under Japan's air defense identification zone.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff said the launch “indicated [technical] improvements” -- it followed a launch last month that appeared to botch an attempt that came within three months of its previous such test failure.
Footage of the test was broadcast on North Korea's central television Thursday.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that although the country’s military had predicted Pyongyang being able to deploy SLBMs for combat use in two to three years, some experts believe that Wednesday’s launch suggests that deployment could happen as early as late this year.
It quoted a military source as saying that the projectile -- which was fired at a higher angle -- could have traveled more than 1,000 kilometers if it had been launched from a regular angle.
The military described the launch as seemingly “aimed at raising military tension in response to the Seoul-Washington military drill", which is set to run to Sept. 2 with the participation of about 75,000 troops.
North Korea claimed the exercises, which kicked off Monday, were a rehearsal for invading the reclusive state, which was hit by strengthened United Nations punitive measures following its fourth ever nuclear test earlier this year.