According to the North Korean state news agency, the hermit kingdom conducted a successful test of a submarine launched ballistic missile. The location of the test was far from the North Korean mainland, raising questions about just how successful it was, given it was not seen be outside parties.
Leader Kim Jong Un, oversaw the test himself, praised the test as a “miraculous achievement” KCNA reported on Saturday.
Kim, who is battling severe obesity-induced ailments, said his country is capable of producing this type of missile, which he called a “time bomb which will go off on the backs of our hostile enemies at any time”, the KCNA report said.
While the rhetoric is troubling, it is not unlike Kim’s deluded statements after missile tests in the past, of which some have been outright failures.
North Korea, despite having a starving population, allocates a significant portion of its budget to the military. This large budget mean Saturday’s test is not necessarily an escalation of tensions.
South Korean defense ministry officials, who keep close tabs on their belligerent neighbor, clarified that North Korea had fired three ship-to-ship missiles from the ocean near North Korea’s eastern city of Wonsan. It is unclear if these were the tests mentioned by North Korea or if there were two separate drills being conducted.
The ship-to-ship missile fired, according to the South, is known as KN-01..
The latest missile tests come just one day after North Korea threatened to attack, without warning, any South Korean ships which entered disputed waters west of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea, in a sign that it is quickly losing patience with its neighbor, responded by threatening to retaliate if North Korea carries out any such acts. The South has traditionally taken a more friendly stance but the latest rhetoric shows the country is becoming weary of Kim’s aggressive actions.