North Korea has claimed success in a Wednesday test firing of a submarine-based missile firing; the United States government agrees that the firing occurred, but believes the missile was launched from an underwater-based platform and not a submarine.
“The successful new-type SLBM test-firing comes to be of great significance as it ushered in a new phase in containing the outside forces’ threat to the DPRK and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defense.”KCNA (official North Korean news agency), via CNBC
Fox News, speaking with unnamed U.S. officials, reports that the firing appeared to be from an underwater platform or submerged barge.
The ability to fire missiles – to include nuclear missiles – from mobile underwater platforms would be a significant escalation of the nation’s military capability. Even the successful underwater test firing demonstrates another upgrade to a missile program which has taken great strides forward since 2017.
This is not the first time North Korea has claimed to have fired successfully from a submarine; they made a similar claim in 2015, and that assertion was subsequently proven false.
The launch comes just after the resumption of nuclear arms talks were announced. The discussions are to begin Saturday.
Vox is reporting an exclusive, wherein they claim the U.S. has an offer ready for the table:
The United Nations would suspend sanctions on Pyongyang’s textile and coal exports for 36 months in exchange for the verifiable closure of the Yongbyon nuclear facility and another measure, most likely the end of North Korea’s uranium enrichment.
Such an offer would help to explain John Bolton’s recent removal, as the deal’s similarities to the Iran deal heavily criticized by the Trump administration cannot be reasonably ignored.