Recent satellite images suggest North Korea has completed the external refurbishment of a shipyard dedicated to building and launching a new class of ballistic missile submarines a US think tank said Wednesday.
While it is unlikely that any such vessel would become operational before 2020, the North’s efforts to develop a working submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) is clearly “making progress”, according to the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
A credible SLBM capability would take North Korea’s nuclear strike threat to a new level, allowing deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and the potential to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack.
Last month, one of the North’s experimental GORAE-class submarines carried out an SLBM test in the East Sea (Sea of Japan), launching a missile that travelled around 19 miles (30 kilometres).
South Korea deemed the test a failure as the missile appeared to have exploded, but analysts at the US Korea Institute said it was a success. Read more