Satellite photos show that North Korea may be building a new submarine that can launch nuclear ballistic missiles
- Report on Wednesday analyzes news images from the Sinpo South Shipyard
- Satellite photos show activity indicating construction of ballistic missile sub
- Analysts warn that it would probably take a year before the sub is operational
Satellite images indicate that, according to a new report, North Korea may be building a new submarine for ballistic missiles.
Images of the Sinpo South Shipyard suggest indirect evidence of the construction of a new ballistic missile submarine, according to the report on Wednesday from the Center for strategic and international studies (CSIS).
The evidence supports claims in the North Korean state media last month, stating that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had inspected a newly built submarine at an unknown location.
It is thought that North Korea is using one submarine of the Sinpo class, which in 2016 launched a alleged KN-11 ballistic missile in the Sea of Japan.
New satellite images show 15 new cranes at the Sinpo South Shipyard in North Korea
View of the building halls at Sinpo South Shipyard shows clues for a new submarine
Last month, North Korean state media released this image of Kim Jong Un and said he was inspecting & # 39; a newly built submarine & # 39; at a shipyard not specified
However, the Sinpo class sub has only one rocket launch tube and experts have speculated that the country would attempt to build a sub with multiple launch tubes.
& # 39; The construction and commissioning of a genuine SSB (ballistic missile submarine) capability would represent a significant advance of the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear threat and make defense planning in the region more difficult given the difficulties in tracking and / or preventively targeting such options & # 39 ;, the analysts said in the new report.
Authors Joseph Bermudez and Victor Cha write that support ships and a crane in the satellite images suggest that preparations are being made for a submarine-launched ballistic missile test.
However, they warn that it would probably take a year or more of tests and shakedown cruises to make the new sub operational, even if a launch test was imminent.
The photo released on July 23 shows Kim on a tour of a shipyard near the alleged new submarine
An image of the assisted area shows an activity level that is typical of what has been observed here in the past
An overview of the site facility from Monday shows the latest activity
Sinpo South Shipyard is one of the few North Korean shipyards that can build submarines.
The report that 15 new cranes have been installed along the dock at the shipyard.
North Korea has threatened to resume long-range missiles and nuclear tests if the US does not abolish annual joint war games with South Korea, which began earlier this month.
The regime has responded with a series of short-range rocket tests, increasing pressure on Washington.
In the last launch on Saturday, North Korea said that Kim Jong Un supervised the testing of a & # 39; newly developed super-sized multiple rocket launcher & # 39 ;.
It appeared to be a new demonstration of the growing arsenal of weapons in the North, apparently aimed at increasing leverage prior to a possible resumption of nuclear talks with the United States.
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