US sees signs of Pyongyang’s preparations for submarine-launched ballistic missile test

North Korea may be engaged in preparations for testing ballistic missiles to be carried by a new submarine, inspected by the country’s leader Kim Jong-un in July, the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) reported.

The think tank released a series of satellite images, which, according to its experts, suggest “circumstantial evidence of the construction of a new ballistic missile submarine.” “Preliminary evidence indicates possible preparations for a test,” CSIS said.

“The appearance of support vessels and a crane in the imagery suggest possible preparations, based on past practice, to tow the missile test stand barge out to sea for an SLBM test flight; but there is no conclusive evidence at the moment that this is a near-term,” it said.

North Korea’s Defense Ministry earlier said that its newest submarine is capable of carrying three ballistic missiles. South Korea’s defense agency suggested that the new submarine may be floated out in the near future.

North Korea’s official news agency KCNA reported in late June that Kim Jong-un had inspected a new submarine for the country’s Navy. The boat is expected to perform tactical missions in the Sea of Japan.

Earlier, US and South Korean experts have repeatedly said that North Korea was building a new submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles. Besides, in late 2017 North Korea completed the development of its new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), known as Pukkuksong-3.