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North Korea test-fires submarine-launched ballistic missile

By NewsGram Staff Writer
North Korea has successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), a news report said.Pictures circulating in country’s media showed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un looking towards a missile shot out of water. The picture also showed red lettering on the side of the missile, which read as “bukgeungsong,” meaning “north star” or “polaris”.According to a report by a Xinhua news agency, Kim Jong-un hailed the newly developed missile as a “world-level strategic weapon.” It quoted the North Korean leader saying that the Korean military now possess a “world-level strategic weapon capable of striking and wiping out in any waters the hostile forces that infringe upon Korea’s sovereignty and dignity.”

The report stated that the test was carried out by a sub that dived to launch depth on the sounding of a combat alarm.

“After a while, the ballistic missile soared into the sky from underwater,” the agency reported.

A fully-developed SLBM capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and the potential to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack.

Earlier this year, satellite images had revealed the conning tower of a new North Korean submarine, which according to US analysts appeared to house one or two vertical launch tubes for either ballistic or cruise missiles.

These analysts had also said at the time that developing an operational SLBM capability would cost a lot and it would take “years” for North Korea to achieve that.

Dan Pinkston, Korean expert at the International Crisi Group said, “If this is what North Korea claims it is, then it has come much sooner than anyone expected.”

“An SLBM capability would certainly increase the credibility of the North’s retaliatory threat, but I’d like to see what foreign intel says about this test,” he added.

While it not hidden that the North has been running an active ballistic missile development programme, expert opinion is split about its progress.

There have also been contrasting opinions on whether the North has acquired ability to miniaturize a nuclear device that would fit onto a delivery missile.

Last year in September, the Defence Ministry of South Korea cited intelligence reports that Pyongyang was perceived to be developing a vertical missile launch tube for submarine use.

The Ministry officials reported that the North’s 3,000-tonne Golf-class submarine could be modified to fire medium-range ballistic missiles.

In 2012, North Korea launched a satellite into orbit, which was condemned by the international community as a disguised ballistic missile test that led to tightening of UN sanctions.

This latest test of submarine launching ballistic missile was reportedly termed as an “eye-opening success,” which was at a par with the 2012 satellite launch.

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Kim Jong-un Wants to ‘Write New History’ With S.Korea

The officials are the most senior South Koreans to meet Kim since he came to power in 2011 after the death of his father

Kim Jong-un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said that he wants to “vigorously advance” relations with South Korea, telling a visiting delegation from Seoul he hoped to “write a new history of national reunification”, Pyongyang state-media reported on Tuesday.

Kim made the comments during a two-day trip by the delegation led by Chung Eui-yong, the head of the South’s national security officials, reports the Guardian.

The officials are the most senior South Koreans to meet Kim since he came to power in 2011 after the death of his father.

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Kim Jong Un
People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 3, 2018. VOA

“He … made an exchange of in-depth views on the issues for easing the acute military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and activating the versatile dialogue, contact, cooperation and exchange,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

“He repeatedly clarified that it is our consistent and principled stand and his firm will to vigorously advance the north-south relations and write a new history of national reunification by the concerted efforts of our nation to be proud of in the world.”

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It was not clear what a “satisfactory agreement” meant and despite a standing invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang, no date has been set.

The South Korean delegation’s visit follows two months of easing tensions with North Korea and is the first of its kind since President Moon’s liberal government was sworn in last year.

Kim Jong Un
The officials delivered a letter from Moon and Kim issued orders for “practical steps” to be taken, KCNA said without giving details. Pixabay


Kim and his wife also personally hosted a dinner for the group on Monday night at the Workers’ party headquarters, the first time South Korean officials have visited the building, according to Seoul’s presidential office.

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Kim’s younger sister and close advisor Kim Yo-jong also attended the meal, which lasted more than four hours.

A photo of the North Korean leader posing with five members of the South Korean delegation was splashed across the front page of the Rodong Shinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party.

Meanwhile, a South Korean government spokesperson said the visit that ends on Tuesday had not disappointed, while a press conference by the high-level delegation is expected upon its arrival in the Seoul at 6 p.m., reports Efe news. (IANS)