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N Korea hails 'miracle' missile test, Seoul complains to UN

Kim Jong-Un congratulates the scientists and technicians involved in the 'miracle' missile test, while Seoul turns to the UN sanctions committee for help.

world Updated: May 26, 2015 14:35 IST
North Korea
North-Korean-leader-Kim-Jong-Un-makes-an-inspection-of-the-264-Combined-Forces-in-Pyongyang-Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has hailed the recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), as a miraculous leap forward. This test was viewed with wary scepticism outside the reclusive state.

The North's official KCNA news agency reported Tuesday that Kim hosted a gathering of the scientists and technicians who were behind the test that was announced with great fanfare earlier this month.

It said Kim congratulated them for producing an "eye-opening miracle" and a "historical event" that had left the country with a powerful strategic weapon.

A fully developed SLBM capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level. It allows deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and gives it the potential to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack.

But experts have questioned the authenticity of the recent test, saying photos of the launch had been digitally manipulated. They suggest that the missile was probably fired from a sunken platform rather than a submarine.

Although the North clearly is set on developing a working SLBM, the expert consensus was that it remains years from acquiring such a capability.

Amidst allegations of the test's exaggeration, South Korea said on Tuesday that it had requested a UN investigation into whether it constituted a sanctions violation. Current UN resolutions ban North Korea from developing or using ballistic missile technology.

"We've sent a letter to the UN Sanctions Committee," foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-Il told reporters.

North Korea has been ramping up its nuclear rhetoric of late, boasting last week of its ability to miniaturise a nuclear warhead to fit on a missile.