In new video footage released by North Korea's state-run media on Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un stands on a military vessel, watching what appears to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile being successfully test-fired.
The missile shoots up almost vertically, soaring toward the sky, and at some 30 to 40 meters into the air, its boosters ignite with a boom and the rocket disappears into the clouds.
The test is presumed to have been conducted in December of last year in the East Sea.
But the video's release merely raised suspicions the launch scene was fabricated.
This is footage of an SLBM test conducted in July 2014.
Kim Jong-un looks on as a SCUD missile shoots toward the sky.
The shape of the clouds, the background and the mountainous scenery all look eerily familiar.
South Korea's defense ministry says the new footage was edited using old videos of previous missile launches.
"Analyzing North Korea's latest SLBM video, we can say the regime is at the ejection stage of development. It will take Pyongyang a considerable amount of time to develop a fully-functioning missile."
( SLBM . . )
This makes it difficult to confirm whether the missile's range has lengthened since previous tests, but the almost vertical lift off indicates some improvements in technology.
In May, when the North tested another SLBM, the launch angle was 74 degrees, whereas the recent footage shows a 90-degree launch angle.
Seoul officials say they cannot rule out the possibility of the regime utilizing its SLBM in three to four years if it focuses on development.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.