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Satellite imagery show construction of North Korean ballistic missile submarine

Satellite imagery show construction of North Korean ballistic missile submarine

Moon Keun-sik, a director at the Korea Defense Forum, on Monday told the Nikkei Asian Review that Pyongyang's submarine-launched missile program could pose the most unsafe military threat to South Korea and its allies. Meanwhile, the United States now wants to use cyberweapons to defend against a potential North Korean missile attack, the New York Times reported.

In addition to submarine components, the images also show what appear to be launch canisters, which may suggest that North Korea is planning a ballistic missile experiment similar to the one it conducted in July.

The images of Sinpo South Shipyard released on Thursday by 38 North, a project by the U.S. -Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies that specializes in North Korea analysis, suggested there were signs of movement and parts in the area since the start of the year.

Satellite images showing evidence of a North Korean ballistic missile submarine being built reveal the rogue state's "extraordinary" ambitions in developing a nuclear attack capability, according to a Sydney-based security expert.

Yonhap reported that according to the South Korean spy agency - the National Intelligence Service (NIS) - Pyongyang's missiles still lack re-entry ability. The Kim Jong Un regime is on an aggressive schedule in this regard, the website says.

Pyongyang also conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.

38 North said in a statement last week: "A probable launch canister support, or launch canister, appears to be present within the service tower at the missile test stand suggesting the ongoing ejection testing of submarine launch ballistic missiles (SLBM)".

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Moon is a former South Korea Navy officer and captain of a submarine. Experts say that Pyongyang is on an "aggressive schedule" to complete its first operational ballistic missile submarine, as tensions between the reclusive nation and the USA continue to escalate.

Since 2008, photographer Eric Lafforgue ventured to North Korea six times. "Japan is also preparing for possible attacks from this", Moon said. He said it will take considerable time and money for North Korea to complete such a program.

Since then, an expert has claimed rival nations should be wary about the weapon's manufacturing and said the threat needs to be taken seriously. "Pyongyang may have improved [its submarine capabilities], but I don't think these are game-changers".

"It shows an extraordinary level of ambition and the extravagant use of resources by North Korea".

It also would be consistent with a CNN report in August saying the US military has detected "highly unusual and unprecedented levels" of North Korean submarine activity. Experts say that Pyongyang has put up tarps or netting over the ships and submarines docked at the yard, likely to hide ongoing activities.

Intermediate-range ballistic missiles can travel between 3,000km and 5,500km.