N Korea leader hails 'miracle' missile test

N Korea leader hails 'miracle' missile test

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

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.

According to KCNA, Kim congratulated the participants for producing an "eye-opening miracle" and a "historical event" that had left North Korea with a powerful strategic weapon.

A fully developed SLBM capability would take the North Korean nuclear threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and 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 and suggesting 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.

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.

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