South Korea’s military detected a move that showed North Korea appeared to be preparing to launch a missile, coinciding with the time of the US Vice President’s visit to Asia.
Sources familiar with the South Korean military said that defense officials had detected some suspicious movements in Sinpo, South Hamgyong province of North Korea. These signs are similar to preparations for testing a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLMB), according to Yonhap.
“We are closely monitoring North Korea’s SLMB-related facilities and activities, maintaining a state of readiness to react,” the South Korean military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Blue House confirmed that South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol received a report from Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup on the night of September 23 on security developments on the Korean peninsula. He received the report on a flight from Ottawa to Seoul, after finishing a three-week trip to Britain, the US and Canada.
The South Korean leader ordered the military to be ready to act if North Korea makes a provocation.
Research project 38 North, of the US Stimson Center, this week made a similar assessment of the movements in Sinpo through analysis of satellite images.
Experts say North Korea is about to launch a new submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles. The port city has infrastructure for all three purposes of submarine production, development and testing with SLMB.
Doubts about North Korea’s impending weapons tests emerged on the eve of US Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit to Japan and South Korea. She is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on September 29 for a meeting with President Yoon.
The US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan strike group on September 23 docked at Busan port, 390 km south of Seoul. This is the first time a US aircraft carrier has visited the southern part of the Korean peninsula since 2018. US warships will participate in a series of exercises with South Korean forces in the eastern seaboard later this month.
North Korea regularly condemns US military moves, and the US-South Korea joint drills are rehearsals to prepare for war, threaten the security of the peninsula and demonstrate Washington’s hostile policy of Seoul and Washington towards Pyongyang.
Name (Theo Yonhap, Reuters)