South Korea, US monitor Pyongyang amid new weapons test speculations
Seoul, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The United States and South Korea were closely watching military activities in North Korea amid speculations that the reclusive state may conduct new weapons next month, an official said on Tuesday.
“The authorities of South Korea and the United States are closely monitoring related moves,” Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesperson Colonel Kim Jun-rak told reporters.
He did not offer more details.
Kim Jong-un’s regime could showcase additions to its missile arsenal as it is preparing a large-scale military parade in Pyongyang to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party on Oct. 10.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think-tank based in the US, released satellite images in early September that showed the deployment of a series of vessels at the Sinpo shipyard on the east coast of North Korea.
Sinpo is the hub of North Korea’s submarine and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).
According to CSIS, one of the vessels resembled the one used previously to tow the submersible test stand barge out to sea.
This has triggered speculations about the launch of a Pukguksong-3 SLBM.
South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook said Monday that Seoul had not detected clear signs about an SLBM near Sinpo.
The think-tank said such a test if conducted would support escalating speculation that North Korea had been making advances in both ballistic missile and SLBM development during the past year.
It might be now planning “to demonstrate these new capabilities around the time of either its national Foundation Day on Sep. 9 or the Korean Workers’ Party Foundation Day on Oct. 10,” according to the think-tank.
Some analysts have warned of the possibility of an arms test before the US elections in November.
The launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine is one of such possibilities.
The denuclearization dialog between North Korea and the US as well as talks between Pyongyang and Seoul have been at a standstill since the failed summit in Hanoi in 2019.
At that summit, Washington deemed the North Korean disarmament offer insufficient and refused to lift sanctions on the country.
Since then, the two sides have been unable to move forward the process opened at the historic summit between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore in 2018. EFE-EPA