North Korea has released images purporting to show the successful test-fire of a ballistic missile from one of its submarines.
If authentic the launch represents significant progress in the secretive state’s military capabilities.
It will significantly reduce the amount of time a foreign state has to react compared to intercontinental missiles.
Shin In-Kyun who runs the independent forum Korea Defence Network said: “The potential of this is that existing missile defence against the North can be rendered useless.”
There are many who remain sceptical however and say North Korea has not demonstrated a functional guided propulsion mechanism.
The North has also not yet shown a successfully miniaturised nuclear warhead that could be fitted onto delivery vehicle for deployment.
North Korea is under United Nations sanctions banning it from developing or using ballistic missile technology.