In a statement South Korea’s military said, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile on Saturday. The development comes three days ahead of the inauguration of South Korean president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to take a stronger stand against North Korea.
According to the South Korean military, it believes North Korea fired its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) into the sea off its east coast around 0507 GMT on Saturday from around Sinpo.
In a tweet, Japan’s Ministry of Defence said, the projectile could be a ballistic missile. Japanese public broadcaster NHK, citing government sources, said the projectile landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
According to an assessment by the US, North Korea was preparing its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and it could conduct a nuclear test as early as this month.
“Instead of accepting invitations to dialogue, the Kim regime appears to be preparing a tactical nuclear warhead test. The timing will depend most on when the underground tunnels and modified device technology are ready,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. “A seventh nuclear test would be the first since September 2017 and raise tensions on the Korean Peninsula, increasing dangers of miscalculation and miscommunication between the Kim regime and the incoming Yoon administration.”
Yoon is slated to take office next week on Tuesday.