South Korea has tested a ballistic missile from a submarine, becoming the first country to develop such a capability without possessing nuclear weapons, Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday.
The agency quoted unnamed military sources as saying that a new Doosan Ahn Chang-ho-class submarine successfully carried out underwater test launches last week.
The Defense Ministry said it could not confirm details of individual military capabilities due to security considerations.
Seven other countries are developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles: the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, India and North Korea. All of these countries have arsenals of nuclear weapons that are usually used to arm such ballistic missiles.
Yonhap said that reports indicated that the South Korean conventionally armed missile was called the Hyunmou-4-4, and it is believed to be a variant of the South Korean Hyunmo-2B ballistic missile, which has a range of about 500 km.
South Korea is developing powerful missiles to target the North’s heavily fortified trenches and tunnels, as well as to reduce its military dependence on the United States, which has thousands of troops on the peninsula.
North Korea has unveiled a series of new submarine-launched ballistic missiles in the past few years and appears to be building a submarine to eventually carry the missiles.
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