(From AFP)

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.

Satellite image of Sinpo South Shipyard

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

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