North Korea Says Its Submarine Ballistic Missile Is a 'Time Bomb' Hanging Over Enemies

North Korea has continued its aggressive rhetoric following its latest ballistic missile test, warning its rivals that the submarine-launched Pukguksong-3 is a "time bomb" hanging over their heads.

Wednesday's launch was the most significant since the surprise rapprochement between North Korea and the U.S. that began last year. Until this week, leader Kim Jong Un had refrained from major ballistic missile or nuclear tests.

The timing of this week's test is significant. It came just one day after the North announced it would resume talks with the U.S. regarding denuclearization and sanctions relief. The first round of talks is due to start this weekend, with representatives expected to meet Friday for preliminary discussions.

North Korea's Korean Central News Agency lauded the test as the beginning of a "new phase" of military prowess on Thursday. On Friday, the Rodong Sinmun state newspaper published a flamboyant threat to North Korea's enemies, warning that its submarine-launched ballistic missile had changed the balance of power in the region.

"The Pukguksong is not just a demonstration of our conventional weapon but a powerful statement to [North] Korean people and a grave statement to violent reactionaries bent on turning the flow of history around," the Rodong Sinmun declared, according to the Yonhap news agency.

"The Pukguksong is now looking over hostile forces currently hunkering down in dark caves," the newspaper added. "It is a time bomb hanging behind their back and the most fearful dagger that will destruct all enemies."

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile reached a height of 565 miles and traveled around 280 miles before crashing into the sea.

KCNA explained that the weapon was fired in "vertical mode," which is often used to test ballistic missiles. If fired at a normal trajectory, its range would have been much longer.

Bloomberg reported that the Pukguksong-3 is believed to have a range of some 1,180 miles. This is not far enough to hit U.S. territory, though a submarine armed with the weapon could sail closer to American targets putting them in reach.

It is not yet clear whether the Pukguksong-3 can be armed with a nuclear warhead, but a functional sea-based nuclear deterrent would complicate U.S. military planning in the region.

SBLMs are extremely hard to detect until they are launched, making it difficult to launch an early strike to neutralize the North's nuclear arsenal in the event of a conflict.

Trump is yet to comment on the latest launch. The president has been willing to ignore recent short-range missile launches, claiming such tests are "very standard."

North Korea, missile, launch, test, submarine
People watch a TV showing a file image of a North Korean missile launch at the Seoul Railway Station on October 2, 2019 in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images/Getty
North Korea Says Its Submarine Ballistic Missile Is a 'Time Bomb' Hanging Over Enemies | News