DPRK unveils first nuclear submarine amid rising 'enemy aggression'
Experts suggest the DPRK's new nuclear submarine is likely equipped with ballistic and cruise missiles.
The DPRK commissioned its first nuclear submarine and deployed it to patrol the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, state-owned news agency KCNA said on Friday, just days ahead of celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the country's founding day.
Launching the "tactical nuclear attack submarine" No. 841, dubbed Hero Kim Kun Ok, "heralded the beginning of a new chapter for bolstering up the naval force of the DPRK," the news outlet indicated.
The Hero Kim Kun Ok attack vessel "will perform its combat mission as one of core underwater offensive means of the naval force of the DPRK," the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, said on Wednesday during the launching event.
"The strategic and tactical plan [is] to continuously enhance the modernity of underwater and surface forces," Kim continued, vowing more vessels with nuclear capabilities to the country's navy.
Based on the design, experts suggest that the nuclear submarine is likely equipped with ballistic and cruise missiles.
The country is set to transform all existing submarines into nuclear-capable vessels, and eventually produce nuclear-powered underwater vessels, Kim added.
"Achieving a rapid development of our naval forces ... is a priority that cannot be delayed given ... the enemies' recent aggressive moves and military acts," he said.
The United States escalated in recent its military presence in the East Asia region and boosted its security ties with Japan and South Korea, most notably regarding nuclear cooperation.
In July, the US deployed its second nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) submarine in South Korea. The move came shortly after the three allies agreed to unite a nuclear response in case of a war with the DPRK.
DPRK's foreign ministry’s Institute for American Studies said earlier that the Korean peninsula is on "the brink of a nuclear war" amid provocations on the part of the US and Seoul. It warned that a war in the Korean Peninsula would "rapidly expand into a world war and a thermonuclear war unprecedented in the world," causing "the most catastrophic and irreversible consequences."
Several global powers, including China and Russia, have expressed serious concerns about the United States' activities in the region. Both nations have issued warnings, emphasizing that Washington's aggressive militarization strategy in the South China Sea poses a significant threat to regional stability and increases the risk of a potential nuclear conflict.