An undated photo released on 24 April 2016 by North Korean central news agency shows an 'underwater test-fire of strategic submarine ballistic missile' . Photograph: KCNA/EPA. Staff and agencies. Saturday 9 July 2016 01.38 EDT. Share on Facebook ...and more »
Staff and agencies
Saturday 9 July 2016 06.38Â BST
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe North Korea has condemned a reported North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The missile was fired from a location near the North Korean coastal town of Sinpo, where analysts have previously detected efforts by the North to develop submarine-launched ballistic missile systems, said an official from South Koreaâ€™s defence ministry, who did not want to be named, citing office rules. He could not immediately confirm how far the missile traveled and where it landed.
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South Koreaâ€™s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that it presumed the missile successfully ejected from the submarineâ€™s launch tube, but failed in its early stage of flight. The Yonhap news agency said that the missile likely flew only a few kilometres before exploding midair, but the defence ministry official could not confirm the report.
North Koreaâ€™s acquiring the ability to launch missiles from submarines would be an alarming development for rivals and neighbors because missiles from submerged vessels are harder to detect in advance. While security experts say it is unlikely that North Korea possesses an operational submarine capable of firing missiles, they acknowledge that the North is making progress on such technology.
North Korea already has a considerable arsenal of land-based ballistic missiles and is believed to be advancing its efforts to miniaturize nuclear warheads mounted on missiles through nuclear and rocket tests.
The Northâ€™s efforts to develop submarine-launched missile systems are a serious concern for rivals and neighbours because missiles from submerged vessels are harder to detect in advance.
The launch came a day after US and South Korean military officials said they were ready to deploy an advanced US missile defence system in South Korea to cope with North Korean threats.
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The firing of the missile is a â€œclear challenge to UN Security Council resolutions,â€ Abe said on Saturday, according to Kyodo news agency.
The launch comes a day after the US and South Korea pledged to deploy an anti-missile system to counter threats from Pyongyang, and two days after the North warned it was planning its toughest response to what it deemed a â€œdeclaration of warâ€ by the US.
â€œWe should strongly condemn the launch by working with the international community,â€ Abe told reporters, the agency said.
Abe also said the missile launch did not gravely affect Japanâ€™s national security, it added.
North Korea last test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile in April, calling it as a success that strengthened its ability to attack enemies with a â€œdagger of destructionâ€. South Korean defence officials then said that the missile flew about 30 kilometres (19 miles) before exploding midair.
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