Military experts already were aware of North Korea’s push to create a fleet of submarines capable of launching missiles. Tests already have been conducted from launch barges of the Pukguksong-1 missile.
Now imagery obtained by commercial satellites shows ongoing preparations at the Mayangdo navy shipyard and submarine base at Sinpo on the east coast of North Korea.
The photographs have been posted on the 38 North blog of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Joseph Bermudez, a specialist in North Korean defense and intelligence affairs, believes the photographs prove the North is accelerating its development of the sea-based part of its nuclear forces.
Since the July report, netting or tarps have been suspended above both the fore and aft decks of the submarine obscuring any activity taking place beneath them.”
A report a month ago focused on the testing of the missiles to be carried submarines. It noted the “highly unusual and unprecedented levels” of activity at the submarine base. Commenting on the new photography, Bermudez offered this observation:
The North may be preparing for a new series of ‘at sea' test launches, has undertaken modifications or upgrades to the submarine's launch systems, or is developing a more advanced version of the Pukguksong-1.”
Obviously, submarines capable of launching nuclear missiles would pose a grave threat to South Korea, Japan and possibly Guam immediately. The Sinpo-class of submarine in the North Korean navy is believed to have an operating range of 1,200 miles.
As the United States works with the United Nations to tighten sanctions on Kim Jong-un’s nation, and China agrees to go along with them, pressure may be building for a more diplomatic solution to the current tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Source: Daily Express