August 21, 2020 13:39
North Korea appears to have completed a new submarine at a shipyard in Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province, the National Intelligence Service told the National Assembly's Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
The 3,000-ton submarine is believed to be capable of carrying ballistic missiles. There are no indications when it will be launched.
Satellite images show a large facility at the Sinpo shipyard, where three new 3,000-ton subs could be built simultaneously, according to a report compiled by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea in April.
A 3,000-ton sub could pose a threat to both South Korea and the U.S. as it is capable of carrying three or four ballistic missiles. The likeliest missile is the Pukguksong-3, which is currently in development.
The North's 2,000-ton sub is capable of carrying only one ballistic missile.
"The North could unveil the new sub anytime," a military officer here said. "It's possible that the North will launch it around the time of the U.S. presidential election in November to draw maximized attention from the Americans."
The NIS said whale-class submarines and underwater missile launch tubes have also been detected at the shipyard. But the North's 5 MW nuclear reactor in Yongbyon and the fuel rod reprocessing plant there do not seem to be operating at the moment after the nearby river overflowed its banks.
The NIS said the North Korean military's summer training has also been significantly reduced.
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