Kim Jong Un Oversees Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile Tests, North Korea Announces

Kim Jong Un Oversees Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile Tests, North Korea Announces

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test firings of new cruise missiles designed for submarine launch and reviewed the progress on building a nuclear-powered submarine. The move is seen as part of Kim’s ambition to establish a nuclear-armed navy to counter perceived external threats. This comes as tensions rise in the region, marked by North Korea’s recent weapons demonstrations.

Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile Test

The recent test involved the firing of at least two Pulhwasal-3-31 missiles from torpedo launch tubes, according to North Korean state media. The missiles created grayish-white clouds as they broke the water surface, flying at an angle of around 45 degrees. The test followed a series of weapons demonstrations, contributing to the increasing tensions with the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

Analysis and South Korea’s Response

South Korea’s military detected the cruise missile launches, and both South Korean and U.S. militaries are analyzing the event. There are concerns that North Korea may have exaggerated the flight times. The development of missiles designed for submarines adds a maritime dimension to North Korea’s growing arsenal of solid-fuel weapons.

Kim Jong Un’s Satisfaction and Future Goals

Kim expressed satisfaction with the accuracy of the missile hits on sea targets during the test. He outlined important tasks for achieving the “nuclear weaponization of the navy” and expanding its sphere of operation. Kim emphasized the significance of these goals in light of the prevailing situation and future threats. The North Korean leader was also briefed on efforts to develop a nuclear-propelled submarine and advanced naval vessels.

Challenges and Analysis of North Korea’s Navy Goals

Building a nuclear-powered submarine and achieving a nuclear-armed navy would require significant time, resources, and technological advancements for North Korea, a heavily sanctioned nation. While Kim has consistently expressed ambitions for a nuclear-armed navy, experts believe that such vessels may not be feasible for North Korea in the near term without external assistance.

Previous Developments and Skepticism

North Korea unveiled a submarine named “Hero Kim Kun Ok” in September, claiming its capability to fire tactical nuclear weapons from underwater. However, South Korea’s military expressed skepticism, suggesting that the submarine did not appear ready for operational duty. The vessel’s design would need modifications to accommodate missile launch systems.

Escalating Tensions and Missile Developments

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen as Kim accelerates weapons development and issues provocative threats of nuclear conflict. The U.S., South Korea, and Japan have responded by expanding joint military exercises and enhancing deterrence strategies. The recent cruise missile launches followed a test firing of North Korea’s first solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile on Jan. 14, showcasing Kim’s efforts to expand his weapons arsenal.

In conclusion, North Korea’s recent submarine-launched cruise missile test adds a new dimension to regional tensions, highlighting the country’s pursuit of advanced naval capabilities in the face of external pressures.