North Korea confirmed through state media on Wednesday that it has test-fired a new type of submarine-launched ballistic missile, adding to concerns over the nuclear-armed nation's technological advances on hard-to-intercept weapons.
The missile launched Tuesday has "lots of advanced control guidance technologies including flank mobility and gliding skip mobility," the official Korean Central News Agency quoted the Academy of Defense Science as saying.
It was the latest in a series of missile tests conducted by Pyongyang.
Pundits say North Korea is aiming to strengthen its defense capabilities by developing several new weapons due to there being little prospect of talks with the United States and South Korea, a U.S. security ally, resuming soon.
KCNA said the academy succeeded in "the test-launch of new type SLBM from the same '8.24 Yongung' ship from which the first submarine-launched strategic ballistic missile was successfully launched five years ago."
On Tuesday, the South Korean military said the North launched what appeared to have been a short-range SLBM into the Sea of Japan. There was an assessment within the Japanese government that the missile could be a new type of SLBM.
The online edition of the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, on Wednesday ran photos of a missile fired from what appears to be a black submarine.
North Korea's SLBM launch came shortly before senior officials from the United States, South Korea and Japan met in Washington to discuss North Korea.
Sung Kim, U.S. special representative for North Korea, and his South Korean and Japanese counterparts agreed to continue "diplomatic efforts" in dealing with North Korea and working toward beefing up regional deterrence, a Japanese government source said.
From Japan, Takehiro Funakoshi, head of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, participated in the three-way meeting, while South Korea was represented by Noh Kyu Duk, South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs.
The U.N. Security Council will convene an emergency gathering on Wednesday to discuss the situation surrounding North Korea, according to a source close to the matter.
With talks with North Korea remaining stalled over denuclearization steps by and sanctions relief for Pyongyang, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has been reiterating its willingness to engage with the country, but no progress has been seen so far.
North Korea has test-fired other missiles in recent weeks. On Sept. 15 it launched a projectile from a "railway-borne missile system," while it fired what state-run media said was a newly developed hypersonic missile on Sept. 28.
Pyongyang also conducted tests of a new long-range cruise missile in early September -- the nation's first missile test since late March. North Korea last test-fired an SLBM in October 2019.
The Japanese government said Tuesday's missile flew around 600 kilometers and reached a maximum altitude of about 50 km before splashing down outside of Japan's exclusive economic zone. U.N. Security Council resolutions ban North Korea from launching ballistic missiles.
A defense expert said it is difficult to detect and track SLBMs, raising North Korea's nuclear threat to a new level especially for East Asian countries such as South Korea and Japan, where tens of thousands of U.S. troops are stationed.
At a ruling party meeting in January, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to develop ballistic rockets "with the use of underwater or ground solid-fuel engine" and "nuclear-powered submarine and underwater-launch nuclear strategic" weapons.
KCNA, meanwhile, did not say Kim was present to observe Tuesday's missile test. It did not elaborate on where the SLBM test was carried out, either.
North Korea and the United States remain technically in a state of war as the 1950-1953 Korean War -- in which U.S.-led U.N. forces fought alongside the South against the North, which was backed by China and the Soviet Union -- ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.
Pyongyang has no diplomatic relations with Washington, Seoul or Tokyo.