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People's Daily Online

S.Korea sees DPRK's submarine-launched missile technology as significantly improved

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:44, August 24, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's military on Wednesday saw the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s submarine-launched missile technology as significantly improved as its flight distance far exceeded what Seoul's defense ministry regards as a success.

A DPRK ballistic missile was test-fired earlier in the morning from a submarine off the country's east coastal town of Sinpo into the East Sea. It flew about 500 km towards Japan, longer than any previous test-firings.

South Korean defense ministry has regarded the flight distance of more than 300 km as a successful technology of submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

Pyongyang may speed up efforts to develop its SLBM technology as Seoul and Washington unilaterally agreed in early July to deploy one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery by the end of next year.

The previous SLBM test by the DPRK came just a day after the THAAD deployment decision in South Korean soil on July 8.

The Wednesday test-firing came two days after South Korea and the United Stateskicked off their joint annual war games, codenamed Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG).

Pyongyang has considered the drills as a dress rehearsal for northward invasion, which the two allies claimed to be purely defensive in nature.

The UFG computer-simulated exercises are scheduled to run through next Friday, mounting the already-heightened tensions in the region caused by the THAAD installation announcement.

This year's U.S.-South Korea war games adopt a so-called Operation Plan 5015, a wartime joint response scenario signed in June last year between South Korea and the United States.

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