Experts say that North Korea might launch further provocations after it became clear in Saturday’s working-level talks with the United States in Stockholm, Sweden that the two nations disagree on denuclearization. This means North Korea might float a submarine that can carry its latest SLBM, the Pukguksong-3, which was fire-tested on Wednesday, in order to raise pressure on the United States.
According to a South Korean government official Sunday, “The government is looking closely at the possibility of North Korea holding a ceremony where a new 3,000-ton submarine that can carry the Pukguksong-3 sails for the first time with the presence of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.” In fact, the South Korean military authorities have captured moves by North Korea such as installing a large shield at the Sinpo Shipyard in South Hamgyong Province.
If the introduction of a new SLBM is followed by the ceremony, it would increase the North’s pressure on the United States close to a critical point as it shows that the submarine, the launching pad for the SLBM which was partially unveiled in July, is almost ready to be dispatched. It can also be interpreted as an official warning to the Unite States that the North can carry out a surprise attack on the U.S. mainland.
The provocations might be launched on the waters off Nampo, South Pyongan Province, a good spot to prove the Pukguksong-3’s long range. It is also a great place for North Korea to show off the high capabilities of its technology by making a missile to take an unusual trajectory travelling across the land from the West Sea to the East Sea. Commercial satellite imagery, which was taken last month, also shows a barge for test berthed at the naval shipyard in Nampo.
Hyo-Ju Son firstname.lastname@example.org