The twin surface-to-surface missile launches by North Korea on September 15 were made from a train, the country's media has revealed.
Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, confirmed a day later that those missiles came from the country’s test of its new “railway-borne missile system.” The report claimed that the missiles flew 800 km (~500 miles) before striking a target in the sea off North Korea's east coast.
Photographs released by state media showed an olive-green missile rising on a column of smoke and flame from the roof of a train parked on tracks in a mountainous area.
Pyongyang’s neighbours, South Korea and Japan, detected the launch of the two ballistic missiles, which came less than a week after it tested a long-range cruise missile.
France’s ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, said members of the UN Security Council gathered behind closed doors for an emergency meeting to discuss North Korea’s tests.
“Everyone is very concerned about this situation,” de Riviere told several journalists after the 45-minute meeting. “This is a major threat to peace and security, it’s a clear violation of the Council’s resolutions,” he added, saying that the missiles had fallen “within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.”
Condemning the tests, the British Foreign Office said, “We urge North Korea to refrain from further provocations, and to return to dialogue with the U.S.”
Pak Jong Chon, a North Korean marshal and member of the Presidium of the Politburo of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, who oversaw the test, told KCNA that the “railway-borne missile system serves as an efficient counter-strike means capable of dealing a harsh multi-concurrent blow to the threat-posing forces.”
In a heated arms race with the North, South Korea on Wednesday fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from its latest 3000-ton KSS III submarine Dosan Ahn Chang-ho. A separate successful test of a long-range air-to-surface missile was carried out. The missile will be mounted on the KAI KF-21 Boramae fighter jet.