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N. Korea confirms test-launch of new SLBM; Kim Jong-un not present at firing
Updated: 2021-10-20 17:11:23 KST
North Korea has confirmed it has successfully test-fired a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile.
The regime's state media reported on Wednesday that the Academy of National Defense Science test-launched the SLBM on Tuesday from the submarine eight-24 Youngung, adding the launch was from the same place the North's first SLBM was successfully fired from five years ago.
The new weapon appears to be a mini-SLBM, first unveiled at a rare defense exhibition held in Pyeongyang last week to mark the 76th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party.
It's smaller than the North's Pukguksong series, and has a sharper warhead.
It appears to be an advanced version of a short-range ballistic missile known as KN-23, which is designed to be difficult to intercept.

"Short-range ballistic missiles are seen as an armed protest that does not cross the red line not going against UNSC resolutions. While keeping behind that red line, the North is continuing to strengthen its nuclear capabilities."

Pyeongyang has long pledged to develop new strategic weapons following its five-year weapons strategy and has shown gradual achievements, hinting missile activities will go on in the near future.

"The North will continue to boost its defense capabilities until meaningful denuclearization talks are established between the North and the U.S."

Kim Jong-un was not present and has been absent from all eight of the North's launches this year.
Also missing was Pak Jong-chon, a member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the ruling Workers' Party, who had guided recent missile launches.
Experts note their absence is an attempt by the North to tone down the level of the significance of the test-launch and that the regime's continuous weapons development is also to put pressure on Seoul and Washington who are seeking a return to dialogue.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
Reporter : damikim@arirang.com