Submarine-launched missile
Submarine-launched missile Oscar Sosa/Department of Defense

North Korea’s nuclear capabilities took a giant step forward on Saturday, state media reported, with the successful underwater launch of a ballistic missile.

KCNA, the country’s official news agency, reported that the KN-11 ballistic missile system was successfully launched in a test fire from a submerged submarine.

Saturday’s test, which marks the first successful launch by the rogue state of an underwater nuclear-capable ballistic missile dramatically extends the reach of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. If deployed the KN-11 system would allow North Korean submarines ballistic missile submarines to approach the coastline of virtually any nation undetected and deliver a nuclear device to targets within 190 miles.

Observers noted that Saturday’s test fell far short of the KN-11’s design range, traveling less than 20 miles. But a US official told CNN that the test showed that Pyongyang had made great strides in recent months.

“North Korea’s sub launch capability has gone from a joke to something very serious. The US is watching this very closely.”

South Korea condemned the test, calling on its northern neighbor to “refrain from additional provocations.”

The US State Department joined in the condemnation, calling the action “a clear violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un claimed the test reflected his country's growing military capabilities, saying that he was now able to strike the US at will.

"The successful test-fire would help remarkably bolster the underwater operational capability of the KPA navy, and it is now capable of hitting the heads of the South Korean puppet forces and the U.S. imperialists any time as it pleases."

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