North Korea says it successfully test-fired new submarine ballistic missile

North Korea on Thursday announced it had successfully tested a new submarine-launched ballistic missile a day after Pyongyang and Washington said nuclear talks would resume.

State media outlet KCNA said leader Kim Jong Un sent “warm congratulations” over the test, which it said occurred Wednesday and was intended to contain “the outside forces’ threats” to North Korea and “further [bolster] up its military muscle for self-defense.”

KCNA confirmed that the SLBM Pukguksong-3 missile was fired “in vertical mode” off the coast of the eastern city of Wonsan, saying the test “had no adverse impact on the security of neighboring countries.”

The State Department said in a statement to The Hill it is calling on Pyongyang to “refrain from provocations” and to remain “engaged in substantive and sustained negotiations” to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and achieve denuclearization. 

The test flies in the face of United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology, but North Korea rejects them as infringements to its right to self-defense.

Ankit Panda of the U.S.-based Federation of American Scientists told Reuters the missile, which used solid fuel and appeared to be nuclear-capable, could be the most significant one launched by Pyongyang since November 2017.

The launch came a day after the State Department announced that the U.S. and North Korea would hold talks regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear program after a months-long stalemate. 

President Trump and Kim have held two official nuclear summits that have thus far yielded little progress. The last one, which took place in Vietnam in February, ended early without an agreement. North Korea has blamed the stalled negotiations on Washington’s “political and military provocations.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that the Trump administration was ready to “immediately” resume negotiations with Pyongyang. 

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