South Korea has successfully completed an underwater test-launch of an indigenous submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Wednesday afternoon, South Korea’s Defense Ministry and Presidential Blue House announced. Hours earlier, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the East Sea – the second round within days. Speaking to officials at the test site, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that South Korea’s upgrading of its missile capabilities can help deter North Korean provocation. As per South Korean news Agency, Moon stressed that his country had conducted the SLBM test as scheduled in accordance with the military’s plan for bolstering its missile arsenal, not as a response to the North’s latest provocation. “However, our enhanced missile power can be a sure-fire deterrent to North Korea’s provocation,” he said.
He told defense officials to continue efforts to beef up South Korea’s defense capabilities, including the development of various missiles to overwhelm North Korea’s “asymmetric” force. Regarding the latest-known missiles fired by the North, Moon said intensive analysis is necessary to find out the exact type, specifics and Pyongyang’s intention. Later in the day, South Korea convened an emergency session of the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss the North’s back-to-back missile launches this week. On Monday, Pyongyang announced that it had conducted a cruise missile test.
They pointed out that the North’s provocations came at a time when stabilizing the security conditions was very important. They agreed to consult closely with the United States and other concerned parties in tandem with a thorough analysis of relevant background and intention.
Reacting to this development on the Korean Peninsula, China – Pyongyang’s main trading partner and ally, said it remains committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and realizing denuclearization of the Peninsula and holds that the issue should be settled through dialogue and negotiation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on Wednesday said, we hope that relevant parties will adhere to the direction of political settlement, exercise restraint, conduct dialogue and engagement, and follow the “dual-track” approach and take phased and synchronized actions to discuss and explore effective ways to address the concerns of all parties in a balanced manner.
Experts say, despite banning ballistic missile launches by North Korea, the UN Security Council is unlikely to pass additional punitive measures against Pyongyang. China, which enjoys relatively warm relations with North Korea, has veto power and has lobbied to ease existing sanctions against the Kim Jong-un regime.