North Korea on Tuesday unveiled a 3,000-ton submarine thought capable of carrying three ballistic missiles. It is considerably more powerful than its 2,000-ton predecessor, which can carry only one ballistic missile.
There are fears that the new sub could be armed with nuclear-tipped missiles.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the sub, the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported. “The new sub is ready to be deployed soon and will carry out missions in an area of operations in the East Sea,” it added.
There have been several signs that the North was building a 3,000-ton sub at a shipyard in Sinpo, North Hamgyong Province over the past years.
The new sub is believed to be capable of carrying three Pukguksong-1 missiles with a range of 1,500 to 2,000 km. It is a formidable strategic weapon because it is much harder to detect than intercontinental ballistic missiles launch pads on land.
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The unveiling comes amid a fresh staring contest between the U.S. and North Korea, which has threatened to boycott working-level denuclearization talks over planned U.S.-South Korea joint drills next month.
Trump told reporters Monday that there has been “very positive correspondence recently with North Korea,” but that does not seem to have dissuaded the North from unveiling the sub.