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Pyongyang might launch SLBM on the day of U.S. presidential election

Pyongyang might launch SLBM on the day of U.S. presidential election

Posted September. 11, 2020 07:35,   

Updated September. 11, 2020 07:35


It has been reported that the intelligence authorities of South Korea and the United States are suspecting that North Korea could launch an SLBM on November 3, the day of America’s presidential election, after revealing a new type of ICBM at a military parade celebrating the foundation day of the Workers’ Party on October 10.

The gist of the scenario is to draw attention with a new type of strategic weapons capable of hitting Washington, D.C. or New York before setting off a “provocation event” by launching a Pukguksong-3 SLBM targeting the U.S. presidential election. “The intelligence authorities from Seoul and Washington are of the view that the new type of ICBMs are the last remaining bargaining chip for Pyongyang whether Trump takes power again or not.

Experts point out that the North will likely choose an SLBM launch instead of firing ICBMs in order to gain a solid footing for the negotiation with Washington.

The intelligence authorities of Seoul and Washington suspect that the Norths’ new type of ICBM is equipped with a solid fuel engine. Boasting a stronger thrust than ICBM projectiles such as Hwasong 14 and 15, which are powered by liquid fuel, the new ICBMs don’t need pre-refueling and can be launched within 10 minutes by putting on a transporter erector launcher. Another news source reported that the two allies are closely monitoring the developments in Pyongyang as they think the North could declare the completion of nuclear strike capability against the U.S. by unveiling a new ICBM at its military review next month.

Joseph Bermudez, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said satellite imagery found a Sinpo-class experimental ballistic missile submarine (SSBA), a submersible test stand barge that appears to be a crane, and a trailer transporting a missile container, each indicating the process of attaching the Bukguksong-3 to a submarine. “It looks like the North is preparing a catapult test before test-firing the Bukguksong-3 from submarine,” said a South Korean military official.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com