US: North Korea conducted successful submarine ejection tests, ‘critical step forward’ in missile capability

The US military has identified "highly unusual and unprecedented levels" of activity by North Korea's navy and discovered evidence that tests have been conducted on a submarine launch system. An official US defense official said it was a "critical step forward" in developing Pyongyang's missile capability.The US military has identified "highly unusual and unprecedented levels" of activity by North Korea's navy and discovered evidence that tests have been conducted on a submarine launch system. An official US defense official said it was a "critical step forward" in developing Pyongyang's missile capability.
US: "Highly unusual and unprecedented levels" of activity in North Korea Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Days after Pyongyang's second intercontinental ballistic missile test in a month, the US military said on Tuesday that they had identified "highly unusual and unprecedented levels" of activity by North Korea's submarine unit and evidence that it had carried out successful "ejection tests" from a submarine. This marks a "significant step in developing North Korea's missile capability from submarines," a US defense official said.

The ejection test apparently examines the missile's “cold launch system,” which, according to CNN, uses steam at a high pressure to propel the missile from the launch area before the engine is turned on, thus protecting the submarine. An official US defense official said it was the third time this month and the fourth this year that North Korea tested the component of the missile system necessary to successfully launch missiles from submarines.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

"The time for talk is over," said US Ambassador to the UN Nicky Haley, adding that it is China's turn to take action: Beijing, she said, "must decide if it is finally willing to take this vital step."

Haley's comments seem to echo recent sentiments coming from the Trump administration. "I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions a year in trade, yet...they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue!" US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday. Last week, Trump spoke with the Japanese president about increasing diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang.

In a written response to CNN, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang wrote that "China has fulfilled its responsibility in promoting a proper resolution to the North Korean nuclear issue and our efforts have been clear for all to see. The issue was not caused by China and its resolution requires multilateral efforts."



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