North Korea mocks missile launched by South submarine as clumsy and rudimentary

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A North Korean flag flies on a pole at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva on October 2, 2014. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Reuters) – A North Korean military think tank on Monday called South Korea’s recently tested ballistic missile clunky and crude, but warned that its development would reignite cross-border tensions.

South Korea and North Korea, which have developed increasingly sophisticated weapons amid stalled efforts to ease tensions on the peninsula, tested ballistic missiles on Wednesday. Read more

Jang Chang Ha, head of the Academy of National Defense Sciences, a North Korean state-run arms development and procurement center, said in a comment to the official KCNA news agency that media photographs of South Korea’s latest missile showed a weapon not even in the shape of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

The missile appeared to be a version of the South Hyunmoo surface-to-surface ballistic missiles with the warhead part an imitation of the Indian K-15 SLBM, Jang said.

Photographs from the test indicated that South Korea had yet to develop key technologies for the submarine launch, including complicated fluid flow analysis, he said.

“In a nutshell, it should be called awkward work,” Jang said. “If this is indeed an SLBM, it would only be in its rudimentary and infantile stage.”

The South Korean Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jang said the weapon had not reached a phase where it had strategic and tactical value and would therefore pose a threat to the North, but questioned the South’s intention for ongoing missile development.

“The enthusiastic efforts of the South to improve underwater weapon systems clearly portend an intensification of military tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Jang said. “And at the same time, it wakes us up again and assures us of what we need to do.”

Jang’s comments came days after Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, mocked the South for criticizing the North for what she called “routine defensive measures” while developing its own missiles.

North Korea has continued to develop its weapons systems, raising the stakes in talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in exchange for easing US sanctions.

The negotiations, initiated between Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump in 2018, have stalled since 2019.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin Editing by Robert Birsel

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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