North Korea’s latest missile launch may indicate that Pyongyang has achieved a new technological level, the leading research fellow of the Center for Korean Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of the Far East, Konstantin Asmolov, told TASS.
In his opinion the North Koreans launched the missiles for any of the three reasons.
"Firstly, it may have been a test of a new technology: if it is true that they launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, this may indicate they have achieved a new technological level. It is no longer an industrializing country, but a normal, mature one."
"Secondly, the missile may have been launched in an attempt to up the ante ahead of talks with the United States [another round of working consultations with the United States is due on October 4-5, possibly, in Sweden — TASS]. North Korea wants to be treated seriously," Asmolov said. "It was a call for a dialogue, [a signal] that an agreement is to be sought and not one’s own interests dictated."
"Thirdly, it was a response to South Korea’s latest activities [on October 1, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reviewed the newest weapon systems, including fifth generation fighter jets F-35A from Lockheed Martin at the air base in Daegu on the occasion of the Armed Forces Day — TASS]. The North Koreans may be eager to show that if South Korea purchases new weapons, they have a worthy response."
On October 2, North Korea fired a submarine-based missile Pukkykson-3 (Polar Star), but there have been no reports yet if it was launched from a submarine or a submerged platform. The next day the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the missile was launched at a sharp angle and posed no risk to the security of neighboring countries. According to the Japanese Defense Ministry, the missile rose to an altitude of 900 kilometers and split into two parts. One of them splashed down in Japan’s exclusive economic zone after flying about 450 kilometers.
The launch took place several days ahead of working level consultations between US and North Korean officials. The international community criticized Pyongyang for violating UN Security Council resolutions. US President Donald Trump has said nothing about the launch so far.