South Korea has successfully conducted an underwater test-launch from a submarine, becoming the world's seventh country capable of launching a domestically developed submarine-launched ballistic missile(SLBM).
The presidential office issued a statement on Wednesday saying President Moon Jae-in and other top government and military officials were on hand to observe the demonstration from a local test center of the Agency for Defense Development(ADD). The SLBM was fired from the navy’s newly commissioned 3,000-ton-class Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine while under water.
The test, which was observed from ADD’s Anheung Test Center in South Chungcheong Province, saw its SLBM fly along the agency’s planned trajectory to successfully hit its target, according to the statement.
The state-run ADD had earlier carried out several ground- and water tank-based SLBM tests, including ejection trials. The Agency also unveiled the development of a supersonic cruise missile beef up the nation's maritime defense, according to the defense ministry.
With its successful test, South Korea joins the ranks of countries with domestically developed SLBMs capable of actual field deployment, which include the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and India.
North Korea also claims it has developed a homegrown SLBM. But the South's military said the North has so far managed to fire its missiles from a floating barge, not from a submerged vessel.
Seoul's SLBM test came just hours after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the East Sea, and two days after it claimed to have successfully tested long-range cruise missiles over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the president’s National Security Council (NSC) also convened an emergency session late Wednesday to discuss the North's recent missile tests. NSC officials expressed its "grave concerns" over the provocations by the Kim Jong-un regime during Wednesday's meeting, according to a statement from the presidential office.