North Korea fires missile 'in show of strength'
With the launch, Pyongyang wants to make its negotiating position with the United States clear, say analysts
Seoul: North Korea fired what appeared to be a "submarine-launched ballistic missile", Seoul said Wednesday, a day after Washington and Pyongyang announced they would resume stalled nuclear talks. One of the projectiles fell into waters within Japan's exclusive economic zone, Tokyo said.
Pyongyang frequently couples diplomatic overtures with military moves, as a way of maintaining pressure on negotiating partners, analysts say, and may believe this weapons system gives it added leverage.
"It seems North Korea wants to make its negotiating position quite clear before talks even begin," Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest in Washington said after Wednesday's launch. "Pyongyang seems set to push Washington to back off from past demands of full denuclearisation for what are only promises of sanctions relief," he added.
A proven submarine-based missile capability would take the North's arsenal to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it detected a ballistic missile early Wednesday fired around 450 kilometres (280 miles) in an easterly direction at a maximum altitude of 910 kilometres.
The missile was "believed to be one of the Pukkuksong models", the JCS said in a statement, referring to a line of submarine-launched ballistic missiles under development by the North.
"Such actions by North Korea to raise tensions are not helpful to efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and we urge it again to stop immediately," it added.
Day US and North Korea will hold nuclear talks
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