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SEOUL — North Korea may be preparing to launch a new submarine believed to be capable of launching ballistic missiles, a U.S.-based think tank reported Thursday, citing commercial satellite imagery.

Images of the Sinpo South Shipyard on the country’s east coast on Sept. 18 revealed six barges and vessels clustered around a pier in a construction hall, according to 39 North, which monitors North Korea.

“While barges and dry docks were occasionally observed around the submarine launch quay in the main construction hall, the presence of six vessels and barges in this area had never been observed,” the report said. concluded that activity suggests preparation. launch a submarine.

The report found that US President Joe Biden, in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, accused North Korea of ​​”blatantly violating UN sanctions,” giving reasons for stepping up international non-proliferation efforts. One example is North Korea.

Analysts first spotted signs that at least one new submarine was being built in 2016, and in 2019 state media reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was under “his special attention.” It indicated that it was inspecting a previously unreported submarine that was built and operated in the waters. off the east coast.

State media at the time did not describe the submarine’s weapons system or reveal when or where the inspection took place, but analysts said the apparent size of the new vessel meant it was designed to carry missiles. He said that it shows that

North Korea has a large submarine fleet, but only one known test submarine capable of carrying ballistic missiles.

Analysts have debated whether this seemingly new missile submarine is a new design or is based on modified versions of Romeo-class submarines acquired from China in the 1970s, before North Korea began domestic production. rice field.

In the midst of an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, North Korea tested a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in May, and Sinpo, where North Korea has a submarine and equipment for testing SLBMs. Shinpo) fired from nearby.

Experts say North Korea is preparing to resume nuclear tests for the first time since 2017 amid stalled denuclearization talks.Reuters Image shows North Korea may soon launch new missile submarine: think tank

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