North Korea has downplayed its Southern neighbor's test-firing of its first submarine-launched ballistic missile, warning however that such provocations could trigger fresh military tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
A North Korean military think tank on Monday described the recently tested missile named "Blue House" as being "clumsy and rudimentary".
Jang Chang-ha, chief of the Academy of the National Defense Science, a North Korean state-run weapons development and procurement center said in a commentary on the official KCNA news agency that the new missile seemed to be a version of the South’s Hyunmoo surface-to-surface ballistic missiles with the warhead part an imitation of India’s K-15 SLBM.
“If it’s indeed an SLBM, it would only be in its rudimentary, infant stage,” he said, adding, “In a word, it should be called some clumsy work.”
The North Korean official said what he had witnessed in media photos was a “sloppy” missile, not even having the basic shape of an SLBM, and that South Korea had yet to master key technologies for underwater missile launches.
He said that despite the shortcomings of Seoul's missile, the move had indeed awakened Pyongyang.
“And at the same time, it awakens us again and makes us sure of what we ought to do,” Jang said indicating that such moves justified Pyongyang’s insistence on pursuing it weapons systems.
North Korea has been steadily pursuing its nuclear and missile development programs despite international pressure, spearheaded by the United States, aimed at dismantling its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals in return for removing sanctions.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, has said that Pyongyang's weapons are for self-defense purposes and lashed out at South Korea for criticizing the North's "routine defensive measures" while developing its own missiles.