WASHINGTON — North Korea did not test fire a ballistic missile from a submarine as Pyongyang claimed over the weekend and the country is still a long way from achieving such a capability, US officials said Monday.
The North’s state media said on Saturday that a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) had been tested but US officials rejected the regime’s account.
“That was not a ballistic missile,” a defense official told AFP.
The official played down the test, saying it did not represent a technical breakthrough for the North.
“They are trying to develop that capability,” but there was no “imminent” threat of a submarine-launched missile arsenal coming on line in North Korea, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Pyongyang’s state media said North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un touted the test as an “eye-opening success” that gives his military a “world-level strategic weapon.”
The precise nature of the launch remained unclear. Some analysts suggested the missile might have traveled only a few hundred meters, and that the event did not qualify as a full flight test.