THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR – PETER GRIER
This year North Korea says it has tested its first hydrogen bomb and an intercontinental ballistic missile with the range to reach the entire continental United States. What’s next for Pyongyang’s nuclear program? Perhaps construction of its first operational ballistic missile submarine.
Movement of parts and equipment at a key North Korean shipyard indicate workers are assembling a new missile sub on an “accelerated schedule,” according to 38 North, an analysis site run by the US-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Clues revealed by surveillance photos include large hull sections near construction halls and a test stand likely used for missile-ejection tests.
Even if it becomes successfully armed with nuclear weapons, one missile sub by itself might not be worrisome, from the US point of view. It would add a complication for defense planning more than an entirely new strategic threat. The sub itself almost certainly will be too noisy to get from the Korean coastline undetected.