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N. Korea Fires Suspected Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile: Analysis Updated: 2021-10-19 17:41:03 KST

North Korea's ballistic missile launch just hours after special envoys on North Korea met to discuss how to deal with the regime's nuclear capabilities.
Its intentions and anticipated course of action by South Korea and the U.S.
Let's talk about it. I have Balazs SZALONTAI, Professor of North Korean Studies at Korea University.

First of all, Professor Szalontai, the missile test this morning was North Korea's first test in two years of a submarine-launched ballistic missile and the latest in a series of provocations from North Korea in recent weeks.
Pyeongyang unveiled the missile back in January, describing it as "the world's most powerful weapon," and comes weeks after South Korea unveiled a similar weapon of its own.
Why is the fact that it's 'submarine-launched' so significant?

What do you think is the North's motivation behind this ballistic missile launch?
I mean, it does come as South Korea develops its own weapons as Seoul is holding what is said to be its largest ever defence exhibition this week where it will reportedly unveil a new fighter jet as well as guided weapons like missiles AND later this week, it's due to launch its own space rocket.
Could this be some elements factored into the North's SLBM test?

Meanwhile, the missile test came as the intel chiefs of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan were meeting in Seoul to discuss North Korea.
The U.S. envoy to North Korea, Sung Kim, is currently on his way here to discuss how to restart dialogue with Pyeongyang, including on whether there should be a formal declaration of the end of the Korean War.
In the last 24 hours, he has reiterated the stance of US President Joe Biden's administration that it is open to meeting with North Korea without pre-conditions. Why the ballistic missile test now when things ARE looking in favor for North Korea?

Now, South Korea was unusually quick to identify the missile as a ballistic missile and issued a statement from the National Security Council. Sung Kim will be in Seoul tomorrow to discuss the latest missile test by North Korea. How do you think this morning's ballistic missile test will impact the latest flurry of diplomacy surrounding the Korean Peninsula and relevant parties' efforts to bring Pyeongyang back to the dialogue table?

Professor Balaz Szalontai of KOrea University, thank you for speaking with us.
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