In October 2021, North Korea tested a submarine-bound ballistic missile in a blatant violation of United Nations agreements. The submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was fired from Sinpo, located off the coast of North Korea, landing in the East Sea and narrowly missing South Korea and Japan.
North Korean missile tests are not a new phenomenon; SLBM tests in the nation have been occurring since 2015, according to The New York Times. Indeed, the October 2021 missile tests came on the heels of a series of launches that have featured missiles of several different types, many of which transgressed international agreements.
SLBM missiles are exceptionally powerful; on its recent launches, North Korea claimed that its new missile is now as resilient as ever to airborne attacks. In addition, these types of ballistic missiles are better equipped for flying at high speeds and long distances than current cruise missiles.
The Washington Post reports have indicated that North Korea develops and tests these missiles for protection against other nations like South Korea, Japan, and the United States—North Korea’s declared adversaries. These tests have not come without verbal threats; following the nation’s ICBM missile tests in 2017, North Korea claimed that it could technically launch nuclear weapons to hit the United States.
Such statements further complicated an already fraught relationship between the United States. Numerous leadership summits during the Trump administration did little to curb international tensions. The Biden administration has appointed Ambassador Sung Kim in hopes of weathering a diplomatic relationship with North Korea and maintaining peace between the two countries.
In response to the recent missile tests, United States ally South Korea has retorted with claims that it is currently developing missiles as well. Such launches only triggered the beginnings of a tit-for-tat exchange that injects fear into the international political landscape.
Such fears are exacerbated in light of Kim Jung-un’s increasing military prowess. While the BBC states that Kim Jong-un wants to avoid warfare, nobody knows if erratic North Korea will stop short of even more dangerous violations of world peace.
By: Arjun Shah