South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended the under-water ejection of the missile
The submarine-based missile launch, which defence ministry officials said “accurately hit the target”, came just hours after North Korea fired twin ballistic missiles off its east coast, targeting Japan and South Korea and highlighting the simmering nuclear threats in the region.
With this successful missile launch, South Korea became the first country without nuclear weapons to develop such a system, joining the ranks of the US, Russie, Chine, the UK, France and India with its home-grown technology.
Officials confirmed that President Moon Jae-in attended the under-water ejection of the missile aboard the new 3,000 ton class Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine commissioned last month.
The domestically built missile weapon is expected to help South Korea deter potential external threats, a statement released from Mr Jae-in’s office said.
Aiming to counter omnidirectional threats with this missile, the statement from the Korean leader’s office said: "…it is expected to play a key role in building self-defence capability and peace on the Korean peninsula.”
It added that the military has developed other new missiles, including a supersonic cruise missile to be deployed in the near future, and a new ballistic missile that has “overwhelming counterattack capability” to fire a larger warhead.
The South Korean military also carried out a successful test of a solid fuel propulsion system that can be used in space vehicles, the statement read.
According to the experts, the firing of missiles and disclosing of high-profile weapons is not par for course for South Korea as it could provoke North unnecessarily. Firing the submarine-launched ballistic missile is an indication of South Korea’s response to criticism that it’s too soft on North, as it continues to pursue betterment of ties with the Korean neighbour, observers say.
Japan and South Korea condemned the ballistic missiles launched on Wednesday morning by the North and noted that they directly violated the United Nations resolutions banning North Korea from any ballistic missile activities. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called the missile launch “outrageous” and condemned the act as a threat to the region.
The test came just days after North Korea announced it had tested a newly-developed cruise missile twice over the weekend, an artillery it described as a “strategic weapon of great significance”. The missile is capable of hitting targets 1,500 kilometers away, which covers all of Japan and US military installations, before dropping into the ocean.