North Korea test fires ballistic missile from submarine (Source cnn.com)
North Korea test fired a submarine-based ballistic missile from its east coast on Wednesday, South Korean authorities said.
The launch took place at 5:30 a.m. local time, according to a statement from the South Korean Foreign Ministry. North Korea’s launch took place in the waters, off Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, in the early morning, the South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
“If the North Korean regime continues to pursue its nuclear and missile capabilities and ignore severe economic difficulties of its people, it will bring about more severe sanctions and diplomatic isolation. It should also realize that it will hasten its self-destruction,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said. “Our government is prepared with full readiness posture to protect our people and the safety of our country and will thoroughly respond to any North Korea’s provocation.” The US Pacific Command tracked the missile over and into the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea, approximately 300 miles off the coast of North Korea. This was the first time a North Korean missile entered Japan’s air defense identification zone, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. “This is a threat to Japan’s security and an unforgivable reckless act that significantly damages the peace and stability of the region,” Abe said Wednesday morning.
The launch comes amid the annual joint military exercise between the United States and South Korea, which kicked off on Monday.
The annual drill includes 25,000 US troops, the bulk of which are already stationed in Korea, according to a statement by US Forces Korea. The United States and South Korea are closely analyzing the details. Dr. Daniel A. Pinkston, a professor at Troy University, told CNN the fact that the rocket traveled as far as it did suggests the North Koreans are “making quite rapid progress, and probably more rapid progress than any people had predicted.”