It appears that many analysts are now worried that North Korea’s weapons development operations may be moving forward faster than what was believed only a few months ago. It also appears that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is not intimidated by the U.N. sanctions that have been enacted as a means of slowing down his nuclear ambitions.
Much of these new assumptions came about recently as North Korea launched a submarine-based missile. The nation is also said to be planning another nuclear test—the fifth, if launched. The timing on these new developments is important as Kim Jong Un is working to improve support as ruling party congress is set to meet soon. It has not met in more than 35 years, and many believe that Jong Un is not as strong at home as he tries to make the world believe. He has yet to pull together a consolidated power base even though he has had four years to do so.
The submarine launch, while it did not complete its 190 mile flight goal, did nonetheless show technical progress that was surprising to some observers in South Korea. This is important because it is also believed that the North is now building a 3,000-ton sub that would be able to carry and launch up to 3 SLMB missiles. The Korea Defense and Security Forum has reported that the North seems poised to have SLBM missiles ready to go in five years.
In addition, South Korea reports that they have detected signs coming from the North that suggest another nuclear test is being prepared. Satellites are seeing images that the North may have started new tunnel excavations for another underground blast at its main nuclear test site.
It should also be noted that the test occurred as North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong told the Associated Press that his country would stop testing nuclear weapons if the US would stop conducting joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. Many experts believe this was only political cover so the North could later justify its next nuclear test. President Barack Obama rejected the suggestion.
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