September 05, 2016 09:55
The ballistic missile North Korea successfully recently fired from a submarine is identical with China's JL-1 submarine missile, a U.S. military expert said.
That suggests China clandestinely handed the technology to the North to preserve a balance of power in the region.
"The missile that the North Koreans launched looks like it's a two-stage missile just like the JL-1. It looks like it's a solid-fuel missile just like the JL-1," said Bruce Bechtol of Angelo State University in Texas, a former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officer.
"Just looking at the JL-1 and the North Korean SLBM, they're looking exactly the same," he told a radio interviewer.
He pointed out that over the past years China has supplied the North with a lot of military equipment, including transporter erector launchers.
Buoyed by the success of the missile launch, the North is expected to accelerate development of a 3,000-ton submarine capable of carrying three to four missiles.
In a briefing on Aug. 31, a defector group called North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity claimed the North's General Bureau of Reconnaissance is developing a nuclear-powered submarine based on a Russian nuclear-submarine blueprint that it has stolen by hacking.
The North invited five Russian nuclear-submarine experts in 2013 and has since sped up its own submarine development, the group added.
A government official here was skeptical. "The allegation about the hacking of a Russian computer network and theft of a submarine blueprint sounds like a cloak-and-dagger story, but nobody can completely rule it out," he said.
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