June 04, 2020 13:42
A former chief of the U.S. Forces Korea has warned that North Korea will soon launch a new submarine equipped with ballistic missiles.
Gen. Walter Sharp expressed his views during a virtual seminar hosted by the Korea Defense Veterans Association on Tuesday.
"I continue to worry that we're going to see a submarine here pretty soon that's got a ballistic missile capability on it," he said.
The North is expected to launch a 3,000-ton sub currently under construction at a shipyard in Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province or test a sub-launched ballistic missile ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November to draw attention to itself.
Sharp said, "The strong option has got to always be there. It's got to be there until complete denuclearization and we have peace on the peninsula."
Meanwhile, Sharp claimed the U.S.-led UN Command will remain critical even after the wartime operational control of allied troops is transferred from Washington to Seoul in 2022.
If the transfer "takes place at a different time, potentially after... North Korea denuclearizes and there's peace on the peninsula, a peace treaty has been agreed to, the UN Command may still have a role," he said. "It will be a different role, but I think it could potentially have the role in helping maintain the peace for at least a period of time after we end up with a peace treaty and denuclearization, but that's yet to be seen."
Currently, Seoul and Washington are taking delicately different views over what role the UNC commander will play.
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