Recent satellite imagery suggests North Korea might be building a new, larger submarine for ballistic missiles, a US think tank has said, as the isolated state pushes its nuclear weapons program.
The news comes after North Korea in August test-fired a submarine-launched missile (SLBM) 500km toward Japan, which North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un said put the US mainland and the Pacific within striking range.
“Commercial satellite imagery strongly suggests that a naval construction program is under way at North Korea’s Sinpo South Shipyard, possibly to build a new submarine,” the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said on its closely-watched Web site, 38 North.
“If this activity is indeed to build a new submarine, it would appear to be larger than North Korea’s GORAE-class experimental ballistic missile submarine, which has a beam of approximately 7m,” it said.
Analysts say that while Pyongyang has made faster progress in its SLBM system than originally expected, it is still years away from deployment.
A proven SLBM system would take North Korea’s nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a “second-strike” capability in the event of an attack on its military bases.
South Korea’s military authorities believe Pyongyang is eyeing a submarine capable of carrying multiple SLBMs, to replace an existing experimental submarine used for the August test, according to Seoul’s Yonhap news agency.
North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology, but this year alone it has test-fired more than 20 missiles and carried out two nuclear tests.
Its fifth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 9, when Pyongyang detonated what it said was a miniaturized atomic bomb, provoked worldwide condemnation and prompted the UN Security Council to begin work on a new sanctions resolution.
Also this month, North Korea claimed to have successfully ground tested a new, high-powered rocket engine, a move Seoul said was designed to showcase its progress toward being able to target the US east coast.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies