On Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019, North Korea announced it had successfully test-fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “sent warm congratulations to the defence scientists who conducted the test,” state news agency KCNA reported.
Photos were published in the North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, whose front pages featured the test. The pictures showed a black-and-white painted missile clearing the surface of the water, then the rocket engine igniting to propel it into the sky.
Their official Korean Central News Agency further reported that “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 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and further bolstering its military muscle for self-defence.”
The launched ballistic missile is named Pukguksong and it was fired in vertical mode off the eastern city of Wonsan. Earlier in July, North Korean state media had released pictures of Kim Jong Un inspecting a new type of submarine, feeding the rumours that North Korea was pushing ahead with an SLBM program and now the rumours have been confirmed.
According to several analysts, this launch is the most provoking step North Korea has taken since it renewed talks with the US in 2018 and it is supposed to serve as a reminder to the US of North Korea’s extensive weaponry ahead of fresh nuclear talks with the United States. Negotiations between the US and North Korea have been on a dead heat since February when a second summit between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump ended without a deal.
Following the publication of the launch, the US has voiced its resentment and a State Department spokeswoman called on North Korea to “refrain from provocations” and to remain committed to nuclear negotiations.
Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest in Washington said, “It seems North Korea wants to make its negotiating position quite clear before talks even begin.”
Also, the US isn’t the only one not pleased by the launch, South Korea is less than enthusiastic too. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “Launches like this are not helpful to efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and we urge North Korea again to stop immediately.”
The Prime Minister of Japan has also come out to condemn North Korea’s actions.
He stated that “The launching of ballistic missiles violates UN Security Council resolutions and we strongly protest and strongly condemn it.”
However, North Korea rejects the UN Security Council resolutions that ban them from using ballistic missile technology, saying they are an infringement of its right to self-defence.
While all these hullabaloos are going on, Nigerians appear to be less concerned about the UN Security Council resolutions and the fray between the US and North Korea.
Instead, Nigerians seem to be concerned about Nigeria’s Defense system. Following the wake of the launch, Nigerians on social media have been asking whether Nigeria has an effective missile system.
Many people have expressed displeasure that Nigeria has just Blowpipe and Roland missiles which are Surface to Air Missiles. It is even more disconcerting to some that while other countries like North Korea are constantly upgrading their missile defence system, our missile system consists of missiles that were developed by the British in the 60s.
Most nations including the US, Russia, Korea have upgraded their systems to more modern Stinger missiles and the Javelin surface-to-air missile. However, Nigeria is still stuck with an outdated missile system.