REVISES HEADLINE, ADDS DETAILS
By Alex Jensen
SEOUL (AA) -- North Korea launched a possible submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) into open water from its east coast Wednesday morning, just a day after announcing it would hold working-level negotiations with the United States this weekend.
South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that a suspected SLBM flew around 450 kilometers (279 miles) at a maximum altitude of about 910 kilometers, according to local news agency Yonhap -- suggesting it would have traveled much further if it had been launched at a less steep angle.
As the North is barred from testing ballistic missiles under UN restrictions and submarine-launched projectiles are potentially harder to defend against, Seoul's National Security Council also expressed "strong concern."
This was the 11th round of missile launches by the North this year alone.
Even though U.S. President Donald Trump has indicated a willingness to tolerate short-range tests, the timing and involvement of an SLBM may have surprised onlookers given the plan for dialogue this Saturday.
However, North Korea's state-run media was highly critical of Seoul on Wednesday following South Korea's demonstration of newly purchased U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter jets during an Armed Forces Day ceremony the previous day.
The North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper claimed the ongoing stalemate in inter-Korean relations, which has persisted despite a surprise inter-Korean border meeting between the leaders of both Koreas and the U.S. in June, "lies with betrayal behaviors of the South Korean authorities."
After an unprecedented series of three inter-Korean summits last year, the paper said Seoul agreed to work to improve ties but instead "has conspired with outside forces and stuck to concealed hostile acts."
Pyongyang has also consistently bristled over joint military drills involving U.S. and South Korean troops.