North Korea’s recent missile test-firing from a submarine is very serious and concerning matter, said South Korea on Monday, adding the North’s capability with the weapon is still at early stage.
North Korea said on Saturday it has successfully test-fired an underwater submarine-launched ballistic missile, giving no further details about the exact date of the test, or the location.
The test-firing annoyed South Korea since such a development could create a new threat in the region, as well as in the international community.
"We urge North Korea to immediately stop developing SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missiles), which hinder the stability of the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia," said South Korea’s defence ministry spokesman.
However, Kim Min-seok, the South Korean spokesman, also said submarine-launched missile system requires developed equipment in order to operate fully and North Korea still needed time to develop such equipment.
Taking a tougher line, Defence Minister Han Min-Koo said the South's military "would not sit idly by in the face of North Korean aggression," AFP reported. "We will mercilessly retaliate to break their cycle of provocation," Han was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.
China has reacted the latest tension in the region by calling peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula on Monday.
Describing the situation as "very complex and sensitive," China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said "We hope that all relevant parties can do more to ameliorate the tense situation, and jointly maintain peace and stability," at a regular briefing in Beijing.
Pyongyang’s missile test came just a day after announcing it would open fire on any South Korean naval ships entering the disputed waters. The United Nations banned North Korea from developing or using ballistic missile technology.
It is believed to have launched a long-range rocket and put an object into orbit in December 2012, defying scepticism and international warnings not to pursue such a programme.