North Korea’s Kim Jong-un continues to carry out weapons tests, but many doubt that his military arsenal is advanced enough to do any real harm to the United States. However, new satellite images have emerged that reveal the dictator’s terrifying secrets.
Express reports that North Korea has a second submarine missile test site at the Nampo Naval Shipyard on the west coast. Commercial satellite imagery of the site was recently released by 38 North, a division of John Hopkins University. The images likely mean that Kim Jong-un has stepped up his submarine-launched missile (SLBM) program.
The images below show both an experimental submarine and a submersible test sand barge. Reportedly, the barge can be used to conduct underwater tests for missile launch systems before they are installed in submarines.
Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr. of 38 North states, “The discovery of a second missile test barge may have a number of implications for the future of North Korea’s SLBM program that appears to be an important priority for Kim Jong-un. A key consideration is the timing of the acquisition of the barges. If both were acquired at the same time, it would imply that Pyongyang had planned a more extensive test program than it has so far conducted.”
He continued, “However, since the second barge seems to have been acquired three years after the first, this could mean that North Korea is planning to accelerate its SLBM test program to include a west coast component or develop new SLBM designs, or that it may deploy a ballistic missile submarine with the West Sea Fleet. None of these possibilities are mutually exclusive.”
Tensions were already high between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump, who, in recent weeks, ordered a military strike group, including the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, to the region. The US military also recently set up a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THADD) system in South Korea to handle any potential missile launches from the North.
In the past, Kim Jong-un’s father engaged in saber rattling to get attention from the international community. He never really accomplished anything militarily, other than making world headlines with his antics.
However, some believe that the current dictator is more erratic and delusional than his father, and with nuclear weapons at his command, the risks are high. Additionally, Barack Obama is no longer in the White House. With President Donald Trump at the helm, things are likely to be different this time, but the dangerous details have yet to play out.