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Kim Jong Un Steers North Korea to Maritime Power Expansion

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has personally overseen the test-firings of new cruise missiles.

These missiles are specifically designed for deployment from submarines.

A Response to Threats

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This development is a strategic move to build a nuclear-armed navy.

Kim Jong Un aims to counter what he perceives as increasing external threats.

South Korea’s Observations

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South Korea’s military detected these missile tests near Sinpo. Sinpo is a key location where North Korea is known to develop submarines.

Rodong Sinmun’s Coverage

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North Korea’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, published photos of the missile launches.

The images showed missiles emerging from the water and soaring into the air.

Missile Specifications

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The missiles were identified as Pulhwasal-3-31, a new type.

They were previously tested in land-based launches on North Korea’s western coast.

Details of the Test

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The missiles reportedly flew for over two hours before hitting an island target.

However, the launch method remains unspecified.

Analyzing the Launches

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South Korean and U.S. militaries are currently scrutinizing these tests.

There’s a consideration that North Korea might be overstating the missiles’ capabilities.

The Goal of Submarine Missiles

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North Korea’s pursuit of submarine-launched missiles aims to bolster its second-strike nuclear capabilities.

This would enhance the country’s deterrent strength.

Maritime Threat Expansion

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These submarines would complement North Korea’s collection of solid-fuel weapons.

Such weapons are designed to overcome missile defenses from South Korea, Japan, and the United States.

Technological and Resource Challenges

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Developing a fleet of missile-firing submarines presents significant challenges for North Korea.

These challenges include technological advancements and resource allocation.

Kim’s Satisfaction with the Tests

Credit: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves from his train as he leaves Khasan train station in Primorye region, Russia, in April 2019. © Primorsky regional administration / AP

Kim Jong Un expressed satisfaction with the missile tests’ accuracy.

He has also issued crucial tasks for further enhancing the navy’s nuclear capabilities.

Future Naval Enhancements

Credit: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks at a year-end meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang on Wednesday in a photo provided by the North Korean government / AP

Kim Jong Un’s plans include not only arming submarines with nuclear weapons.

He is also considering the development of nuclear-propelled submarines and advanced naval vessels.

Skepticism Over Capabilities

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Experts are skeptical about North Korea’s ability to develop nuclear-powered submarines.

Such advancements seem unfeasible without external assistance.

North Korea’s Submarine Fleet

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North Korea’s existing submarine fleet primarily consists of older, diesel-powered vessels.

These are mostly equipped for launching torpedoes and mines.

Regional Military Responses

Pyongyang, North Korea-October 12,2017:North Korean military on excursions in Museum of the Patriotic Liberation War — Photo by truba71.gmail.com

The Korean Peninsula is experiencing heightened tensions due to North Korea’s aggressive weapons development.

In response, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan are intensifying their military exercises and deterrence strategies.

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Credit: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un / AP