North Korea may soon conduct its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in about a year, a top South Korean military official said Wednesday, amid long-stalled nuclear talks between the North and the United States.
In written remarks to lawmakers ahead of a confirmation hearing, Won In-choul, the nominee for chairman of South Korea”s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said North Korea has been repairing recent typhoon damage at its northeastern Sinpo shipyard, a place where it builds submarines.
Shortly after the repairs are complete, there is a chance it will carry out a submarine-launched ballistic missile test, Won said. He said South Korea”s military is keeping a close watch on developments there, according to a copy of his remarks provided by a lawmaker, Kang Dae-sik.
In recent years, North Korea has been pushing hard to acquire the ability to launch missiles from submarines in what experts say is a worrying development because such weapons are difficult to detect before launch.
A test of an underwater-launched missile by North Korea last October was the first of its kind in three years, and the most provocative weapons test since North Korea entered nuclear negotiations with the U.S. in 2018.