North Korea: Ballistic Missile Test Deemed Successful


 

On April 23rd, North Korea conducted a submarine ballistic missile test under the supervision of Kim Jong Un. It was deemed successful, and, as the Globe and Mail reported, “one more means for powerful nuclear attack.”

According to the North Korean Central News Agency (KNCA), the test “fully confirmed and reinforced the reliability of the Korean-style underwater launching system and perfectly met all technical requirements for carrying out…underwater attack operations.” Kim Jong Un himself believes this success also aims to place worth on the North Korean navy, which, along with the new technologies, can fight against South Korea and the United States.

That being said, the South Korean Defence Ministry stated the missile only flew for approximately 30 km (18 miles), which raises some eyebrows on whether the launch was a real success or a failure. The South Korean Military is investigating this issue. In the meantime, it is unclear whether North Korea is merely instigating fear upon other states by exclaiming its nuclear capability.

If the underwater ballistic testing is proven successful over time, it can pose a threat to the United States. According to an article published by Reuters, The United States is considering other options, probably sanctions or other security measures, to stop the nuclear testing. Obama is adamant on defending the state and its allies from North Korean threats, and, according to the article, “[is] spending a lot more time positioning its missile development systems to set up a shield ‘that can at least block the relatively low-level threats.’”

This test was performed amidst concerns regarding the nuclear strength of the state, which has been a hot topic amongst the Security Council members this year. North Korea is legally banned from nuclear testing under UN sanctions going back ten years ago, with the most recent being March 2nd, 2016 in light of Pyongyang breaking the nuclear ban. Nonetheless, the state still continues its nuclear tests under the sanctions.

America’s State Department spokesman stated this was “a clear violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.” France has even requested the European Union to push more sanctions onto North Korea if the missile launch is confirmed.

Some experts have expressed that the test launches over the past few months were indeed a failure, and instead the medias presentations, showing that they were all successful, had been doctored. If this has been a state tactic to instil fear amongst its enemies, then it is highly possible that the ballistic missile program North Korea is establishing, which puts the United States within range, can take many years to perfect.

Neelam Champaneri