As North Korea marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of state founder Kim Il Sung on Saturday, fears of an impending military attack from Kim Jong Un’s regime during the “Day of the Sun” have begun to emerge.
One particular cause for concern, a security expert has revealed, are the North Korean submarines which went off radar two years ago.
It is feared that Kim Jong Un may be ramping up his military’s underwater force, with plans of modifying the “missing” vessels to be able to launch nuclear missiles from underwater.
In 2015, both South Korea and Japan were alarmed after around 50 North Korean submarines suddenly disappeared off their radar. The undetectable subs, which account for 70% of Pyongyang’s underwater vessels, reportedly vanished without a trace after a stand-off with the South Korean military.
“We didn’t know where they were at the time,” researcher Bruce Klingner told CNBC. “One would hope that we would keep very close tabs on those that could launch the submarine-launched ballistic missiles [SLBMs].”
“All of that is very worrisome because that may very well have a nuclear weapon someday,” observed the expert on Korean and Japanese affairs.
Back then, a South Korean military official vowed to “mobilize all our surveillance resources’ to find the vessels,” according to Daily Mail.
Observers claimed that the images suggested that North Korean submarines have developed the capacity to deploy even larger missiles than the KN-11 submarine-launched ballistic missile earlier test-launched back in August. North Korea’s nuclear submarine system may have been inspired by the Soviet Union’s Golf-class submarines of the late 80s.
In a statement yesterday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned that Kim Jong Un now “has a capability” to fire missiles armed with sarin gas, which is the same gas that killed 87 Syrian civilians last week.
Meanwhile, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News that America will not hesitate to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea if it was determined that the country is following through with a nuclear weapons test. As a show of force, a U.S. Navy strike group has recently traveled towards the western Pacific Ocean near the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol condemned the action, noting that they “will go to war” if the U.S. continues to provoke them.
“Now we are comparing Trump’s policy toward [North Korea] with the former administration’s and we have concluded that it’s becoming more vicious and more aggressive,” Han told the Associated Press. “Whatever comes from US politicians, if their words are designed to overthrow the DPRK system and government, we will categorically reject them.”