North Korea In Massive Boost to Military Arsenal

Excerpts:

The North has come closer to being able to strike any target across the Korean Peninsula, and the day may not be far off when it is capable of miniaturizing nuclear bombs so they can be mounted on missiles.

North Korea In Massive Boost to Military Arsenal

http://english.chosun.com/ site/data/html_dir/2014/12/15/ 2014121500862.html

North Korea has made some strides toward the first part of its pledge to become a “powerful and prosperous nation” in the three years since Kim Jon-un took power but has fallen dismally short of the second.

While food shortages remain severe, the North has relentlessly worked on bolstering its military capabilities, especially nuclear weapons and missiles.

A senior military officer here said the North now operates about 30 nuclear-related facilities, including a uranium mine, a high-explosive test site, and a nuclear power plant. He added it could have as many as 20 nuclear weapons. That would mean its nuclear stockpile has nearly doubled in just a few years.

Since early this year, the North has test-fired 111 missiles on 19 occasions, but experts say there were probably more secret tests.

The missile arsenal has been diversified into five or six types, and their accuracy is gradually improving.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) visits a Navy submarine unit on Saturday in this photo released by the Rodong Sinmun.North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) visits a Navy submarine unit on Saturday in this photo released by the Rodong Sinmun.

The North has come closer to being able to strike any target across the Korean Peninsula, and the day may not be far off when it is capable of miniaturizing nuclear bombs so they can be mounted on missiles.

Testing of submarine-launched ballistic missiles that could pose a threat to South Korean and U.S. forces appears to be at a fairly advanced stage.

The North’s new 1,800-ton Romeo-class submarine is too small to carry any such weapon, a military expert said, but it seems scores of tests have been conducted using a vertical launch tube on land.

Meanwhile, the North has deployed around 200 multiple rocket launchers in the frontline area and built more accurate GPS-embedded bombs and some kind of stealth vessel.

That heightens the threat of military provocations which the North typically carries out in times when the international situation is turning against it. It currently faces increased pressure over its human rights abuses and deteriorating ties with its sole ally China.

Read this article in Korean

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 15, 2014 09:29 KST

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