Pyongyang: While North Korea is still struggling to develop nuclear-headed airborne missiles, it is fast increasing its underwater military power.
The country possess numerous submarines, which it has used with devastating effect in the past, with fears they are now being adapted to fire nuclear weapons.
Even more worrying is the submarines’ ability to ‘disappear’ and avoid detection. In 2015 around 50 went missing, setting alarm bells ringing in Seoul and Tokyo.
Security expert Bruce Klingner said: “We didn’t know where they were at the time. 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.”
Being able to launch an attack from a submarine, rather than a static site somewhere in North Korea, opens up Kim Jong-un’s enemies to a new sort of risk.
Mr Klinger explained an attack from the ocean would take South Korea by surprise, due to the country’s defences geared towards an attack over the border.
He said: “The problem with the SLBM is that it exposes South Korea’s flanks to attack.” Submarines have already been used by the North Korean military to deadly effect, most recently in 2009 when a North Korea submarine sunk a South Korean navy vessel, killing 46 people.
Adding nuclear weaponry to the mix would prove disastrous to country’s across east Asia Other military experts warned of the devastating North Korea could cause using nuclear submarines.
Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute think tank said: “Their conventional forces maybe not very capable at the moment, but they have a lot of weapons of mass destruction.
Seen as a message to Kim as much as Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Pyongyang responded by warning it would not hesitate in launching an attack on America.
In a show of force, US president Donald Trump then sent an attack group towards the country in response.