How the world is viewing the missile test of North Korea?
On 2nd October North Korea tested a medium-range missile from an undersea platform. It was its 11th missile test in 2019 and its first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test since August 2016.
Japan has stated that the missile was fired from a point in the Sea of Japan landed in the waters of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). South Korea has stated that the missile flew 450 km in a trajectory that peaked at 910 km high.
What message does the Missile Test Convey?
The missile demonstrates continuing progress on Pyongyang’s SLBM programme. The apparent range and capabilities of the missile are surely an apparent threat.
The submarine strikes are unpredictable. It is difficult to anticipate the time and place of a submarine-borne strike. SLBMs provides for a crucial second-strike capability to militaries faced with a nuclear attack. But what is still uncertain is that whether or not North Korea’s submarine programme is advanced as yet.
Threat Perception of North Korea’s Missile Capability
Even earlier North Korea fired the missile in a very steep trajectory. If the launch had followed a more standard trajectory, it could have travelled 1,900 km, standard for a medium-range missile.
Such a missile would reach South Korea and Japan easily, especially if it were launched from a submarine with a significant range. North Korea’s 1990s vintage Romeo-class submarines are thought to be able to travel 7,000 km, or about the distance to the United States territory of Hawaii. But a saving grace from the perspective of the West is that these diesel-electric powered machines are extremely noisy, and can probably be detected.
The current missile test comes days ahead of the planned resumption of nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States. It is viewed as pressure tactics from North Korea.
Analysts say that North Korea is trying to raise the stakes and send out the signal that it will return to the table on its own terms and expects Washington to back off from its demands for full denuclearisation.