New N.Korean Sub Must Not Be Underestimated

      September 11, 2023 13:23

      North Korea last Friday unveiled what it claims was a "nuclear attack submarine" with 10 missile launch tubes. It is apparently capable of launching mid-range missiles and a nuclear-armed unmanned underwater vehicle. The sub looks like a modified version of an aging vessel, and the claims made for it in the state media did not convince everyone since it is top-heavy and has far too many missile launch tubes for its moderate size.
      But the problem even if it is capable of firing just one ballistic missile, it poses a serious threat to South Korea's national security. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set the development of a nuclear-powered submarine as one of the North's major goals in 2021, and he is widely expected to visit Russia to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and extract some kind of technology transfer from him.
      The best defense against nuclear submarines are nuclear submarines, which are capable of silently monitoring each other under water. South Korea must review its anti-submarine warfare capabilities and consider building its own nuclear-powered submarines, which are not in fact nuclear weapons. The U.S. should not dismiss such prospects as a matter of reflex.
      The leaders of the U.S., South Korea and Japan last month agreed to bolster trilateral defense capabilities to a new level. If the three allies share real-time information of North Korean submarines, conduct joint military drills and allow South Korea to acquire nuclear submarines like Australia, their capacity to track and monitor the North's subs will grow immeasurably. Such bold measures will prove that the agreements reached at Camp David were more than just rhetoric.

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