At this current time, very little is known about the launch. But we do know that the launch was a failure; the rocket exploded around 10 kilometers in altitude after being fired from a Sinpo class submarine. South Korea quickly condemned the launch, along with reconfirming its stance on the missile program, with The Korea Hearld quoting Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuk. “The government strongly condemns North Korea for carrying out the provocation of test firing a submarine-launched balistic missile.”
The United States also quickly condemned the launch, with Pentagon Spokeman Comander Gary Ross, quoted in the same Korea Hearld article, saying “this provocation only serves to increase the international communities resolve to counter the DPRK’s prohibited actions…” Currently, China and Russia have yet to release statements in regards to the test.
The test comes amidst several new changes in the United States and South Korea’s North Korea strategy. Early this month, the Unitied States adopted a set of sanctions against North Korea for its putrid human rights record, the first of its nature from the United States. In Seoul, South Korean officials agreed to deploy THAAD defense system within South Korea. This test may be a response to such changes, but the international community is unlikely to learn the true reason behind this test.
Finally, what implications will this have on the missile program of the DPRK? In an analysis on 38North, Jon Schilling argues that the missile programs still require more testing and time before it is able to create a useful missile. The test is the third unsuccessful SLBM test within a short span, highlighting the DPRK’s fevorent disire to have one within its arsneal. Despite such rapid testing, Schilling presents a very compelling argument, as not a single test has been successful. For now, it appears that DPRK SLBM technology is no where near operational, and shall take some time before it advances into a fully operational part of North Korea’s arsenal.
(This was written on my phone, will come back and update with links as soon as I get to my computer this evening.)