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A North Korean submarine has fired what is believed to be a ballistic missile, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said.
The launch took place near the North Korean coastal town of Sinpo, where submarine-launched ballistic missile systems are believed to have been tested before.
If the secretive state has successfully mastered the ability to launch missiles from submarines it could have huge ramifications. Security experts warn that missiles launched underwater are harder to detect before launch than land-based ones, raising fears of surprise attacks the New York Times reports.
Timing couldn’t be worse for North Korea ramping up tensions, as they’ve been firing increasing amounts of missiles and artillery shells into the sea in recent weeks. This increased aggression, albeit against the sea, coincides with the U.S. and South Korea’s annual joint military drills.
The international community has also put North Korea under increased pressure with tougher sanctions following January’s nuclear bomb test.
South Korean experts don’t believe World War Three is likely to kick-off any day soon though, as they think it’s unlikely that North Korea currently possesses a submarine large enough to carry and fire multiple missiles. But they do acknowledge that they’re getting better at developing dangerous weapons technology.