North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was heralded by North Korean media on January 29th for his direct oversight of the development of a new cruise missile design. Present at the initial land-based testing launches, he also took time to review the efforts for creating nuclear-powered submarines.
This comes just a day after South Korean reports of cruise missiles being detected from North Korea over waters along the port city of Sinpo. Widely reported to be their testing grounds for developing submarines, this is the first time a missile like this has been fired from the location.
Rodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official newspaper, released photos of what are reportedly two separate missile launches that were conducted that evening. With massive plumes of greyish smoke, as they exited the water at a 45* angle, early indications are they were fired from torpedo launching tubes. State media claimed that they were Pulhwasal-3-31 missiles.
Originally given their first land tests the week prior on North Korea’s west coast, this would have been their first known water testing of this missile system. Previously, they had test-fired missiles from sunken barges and missile-firing submarines, but this time, they didn’t provide information about the test launch platform.
A test like this is just another building block in the long-term plan from Kim.
Throughout the last few years, Kim has done little to hide his major goal, nuclear-armed and powered submarines. To him, they force other nations to think twice before striking the hermit kingdom, especially with a land-based nuclear attack. While a great pipe dream, experts caution that the time, resources, money, and technological improvements Kim would need to produce quiet submarines are far beyond his current grasp.
Following the test Kim told North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that he was happy with the results of the test, as both missiles made direct contact with their sea targets. Kim also gave unspecified goals towards “realizing the nuclear weaponization of the navy and expanding the sphere of operation.” He described the long-term goals with consideration to the “prevailing situation and future threats,” according to the report.
Back in September, Kim made comments about forming a nuclear-powered Navy as he attended the launch of a new submarine capable of firing tactical nuclear weapons. Currently, they have 70-90 diesel-powered submarines, thus giving them one of the largest fleets across the globe. However, the technology is old and easily detected. They are also only useful for launching torpedoes and mines. Their need for diesel also limits their range and time below the surface significantly.
With Biden at the helm until at least January 2025, how worried should the American people be?
In a word: very.
This is the kind of development that keeps Kim pushing forward with the idea that North Korea is a superpower. With Biden likely to lose the election in November, it leaves the Kim regime with nothing to worry about in the meantime. As it is Joe is far too preoccupied with his money laundering in Ukraine and trying to save face in the Israel v. Palestine/Hamas conflict by helping both sides.
Ignoring this man-child like Biden has only served to embolden Kim in his resolve that the country isn’t respected. In his deluded mind, North Korea needs to up its arsenal so it can prevent being overrun. Shying away like a scared animal, Kim has been readying his defenses during the quiet time COVID provided his regime. Now coming forth with his new arsenal, he thinks he is ready to take on the world.
If the US fails to take the risk Kim and North Korea present seriously, we are doomed to suffer from their attack. As it stands, they currently have the upper hand when it comes to the element of surprise. We have already ensured we won’t be the first ones to strike, so they can sleep easy.