North Korea’s Submarine Ballistic Missile Launch: Fact or Fiction?

Communist North Korea on Saturday said they successfully launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, but no one’s really sure if what they’re saying is true or not.

The North’s state-run media released images of the supposed missile test, which included plenty of shots of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watching on. See below and you’ll get what I mean.

NK Tweet

As pointed out in the above video, there’s the possibility that the submarine missile launch is just more crazy North Korean rhetoric and some fancy photoshopping. It’s also not clear when the supposed test occurred, or where it might of happened.

“It’s way too early to say that North Korea has fully acquired the technology,” Yang Uk, a senior researcher at Seoul’s Korea Defense and Security Forum, told Bloomberg. He also added that the North would need to build a bigger submarine.

But a chief analytics officer with AllSource Analysis in January used satellite imagery to show what seemed to be a North Korean submarine that was capable of launching ballistic or cruise missiles.

The North Koreans have an estimated 70 Soviet-era submarines, says Reuters.

It also has a range of land-based ballistic missiles.

So if they did launch a ballistic missile successfully from a submarine, what does it mean?

If it did occur, it shows that the North is ahead of estimates in their development of ballistic missile technology.

North Korean leader Kim Jong watches the launching of a ballistic missile from a submarine. (Image: YouTube)

An image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un supposedly watching the launching of a ballistic missile from a submarine. (Screenshot/YouTube)

As far as improving its attacking capabilities, not only does it make it more of a threat to its neighbors, it means that Pyongyang can move its missiles within range of the U.S., which kind of makes their crazy threats that bit more sinister.

“The test shows that North Korea missile capabilities are advancing without any constraints now despite a bevy of nonproliferation sanctions applied by the United Nations,” said Korea analyst Victor Cha of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, in an email to Reuters.

But South Korea is downplaying the threat.

“North Korea is currently developing even the submarine used to conduct the ejection test, and it’s not complete,” Kim said, according to Bloomberg. “Many more devices have to be furnished.”

Yet South Korea still says it remains “seriously concerned.”

A South Korean official said that the missile only traveled a distance of 150 meters.

The test violates U.N. sanctions put in place against the regime in 2006 that bans it from developing or using ballistic missile technology.

The test comes at a time when the North’s nuclear capabilities have also increasingly come under the spotlight. See the video below for more on that:

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