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Kim hinted at Yongbyon access, says Harris
Video surveillance equipment on rise inside North Korea
Article: North Korea is thought to be developing a new submarine capable of launching nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, a senior South Korean lawmaker said, signaling an increased threat to U.S. and allied forces while raising doubts about the regime’s pledges to disarm.
Evidence gathered by South Korea’s military suggests Pyongyang is working on the submarine on its east coast, said Kim Hack-yong, who chaired the legislature’s defense committee until his term ended a few weeks ago. Mr. Kim, who belongs to a conservative opposition party that is skeptical of dialogue with Pyongyang, cited intelligence provided last week by defense officials.
Satellite imagery reviewed by South Korean intelligence officials showed the movement of laborers and materials at the port of Sinpo, where the submarine appears to be under construction at an indoor facility, an aide to Mr. Kim said.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said he couldn’t comment on details pertaining to intelligence activities but stressed that Seoul and Washington continue to monitor North Korea’s military facilities.
North Korea’s submarine-launched ballistic missile program was first publicized in 2014. North Korea is believed to have undertaken four to six test launches of its SLBM model known as the KN 11. The test firing of a missile in 2016 that traveled 300 miles signaled that the program was progressing.
Pyongyang’s ability to mount nuclear weapons on those missiles and what the firing range would potentially be with a newly built submarine remains unanswered—as does the question of where North Korea is getting the technology.
U.S. officials consider the program a threat because such missiles are harder to identify and destroy before launch, potentially giving North Korea a greater element of surprise in an attack. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul couldn’t immediately comment.
As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Pyongyang, North Korean weapons developments have raised questions about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s commitment to denuclearize following his agreement with President Donald Trump in Singapore last month. Their joint statement lacked specifics, leaving the regime wiggle room as to what exactly constitutes denuclearization.
In Pyongyang on Friday, Mr. Pompeo was expected to press North Korean officials for concrete steps to deliver on those pledges, such as a timeline for disarmament.
In recent days, though, satellite images have indicated North Korea is expanding a missile-production facility and erecting a new building at one of its plutonium-producing reactors.
North Korea also appears to be preparing for its annual summer military exercises and hasn’t ceased sending orders to its spies in South Korea through coded messages, said Mr. Kim, the lawmaker.
The latest evidence shows the need to maintain pressure on North Korea and force the regime to negotiate, said Yang Uk, the chief defense analyst at Korea Defense and Security Forum, a Seoul-based private think tank.
“It’s too early to say if the North Koreans have defaulted on the Singapore agreement to denuclearize,” he said. “But earlier satellite images have already shown enough evidence proving North Korea has not abandoned its SLBM program.”
Hwang Jin-ha, a retired South Korean Army lieutenant-general and the former chairman of the defense committee at the country’s legislature, said he believed the latest information to be credible. Mr. Hwang, a former lawmaker, belongs to the same party as Kim Hack-yong.
North Korea’s navy operates a fleet of about 70 submarines, alongside 430 surface combat ships, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry. It also maintains 250 amphibious vessels and 20 minesweepers.
South Korea’s navy has about 10 submarines, according to the ministry. It maintains 110 surface combat ships and 10 amphibious vessels. Seoul, however, possesses advanced assets, including three Aegis-equipped warships able to intercept incoming ballistic missiles.
The North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles has led to several rounds of sanctions against the regime and threats of U.S. military action from Mr. Trump.
But a detente has emerged this year, driven in large part by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, bringing the U.S. and North Korean leaders to their first meeting.
Mr. Kim, the third-generation dictator, has declared his nuclear force complete and said he wanted to focus on rebuilding his sanctions-strained economy.
After the Singapore summit, the U.S. and South Korea agreed to suspend military exercises that had angered Pyongyang and that Mr. Trump had described as provocative and expensive.
The regime, meanwhile, agreed to return the remains of U.S. military personnel killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. That hasn’t happened; it wasn’t immediately clear whether Mr. Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang would yield progress on that front.
This would be a beneficial move for the US. It's next to impossible to track all ground based mobile launchers, but im certain if any country can track all individual subs its the US.
It's not next to impossible with the amount of surveillance we have on them, and the point is that these nukes can be in international waters where they're much closer to the US. It's not like we can just take them all out in one stroke before they launch just because we know where they're at. We'd have to be constantly following them.
That's what American subs do. They track and follow.
No. We have several platforms that hunt subs. We're not just tailing them 24/7 with our own subs. That would degrade our offensive capabilities.
I don't think you understand the capabilities and limitations of the U.S. military as much as you're trying to display here.
SLBM subs are very difficult to locate and track. This is the primary deterrent used by the major nuclear powers.
Even for a navy as large as the next 15 navies combined? One with a network of hydrophones through out the ocean? One capable of recovering enemy subs from the sea floor? Don't under estimate the most powerful military currently on earth.
But, also, don't overestimate it. The ocean is fucking enormous.
They were installing hydrophones long before they were installing satellites. And even if they didn't, I believe the US has a sub sitting off the the pacific coast of North Korea waiting for any blue water NK boat to be launched to then be tracked as long as it is out of port.
I also believe the US tracks everyone's navy all the time. It isn't a matter of finding a needle in a haystack, but rather tying a string to that needle long before it ever gets lost.