N. Korea’s Kim says nuclear weaponization is ‘urgent’ while overseeing SLCM test

Posted on : 2024-01-30 17:01 KST Modified on : 2024-01-30 17:01 KST
The North’s leader personally guided a test launch of the Pulhwasal-3-31, a submarine-launched strategic cruise missile, according to state media
North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun reported on Jan. 29 that one day prior leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the test of a submarine-launched strategic cruise missile known as the Pulhwasal-3-31. (KCNA/Yonhap)
North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun reported on Jan. 29 that one day prior leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the test of a submarine-launched strategic cruise missile known as the Pulhwasal-3-31. (KCNA/Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally oversaw the testing of the “newly developed submarine-launched strategic cruise missile ‘Pulhwasal-3-31’ on Sunday,” according to a report Monday by the state-run Rodong Sinmun.
 
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff had previously announced that they had detected multiple cruise missiles fired from near the Sinpo region at 8 am on Sunday.
 
While the missile Pulhwasal-3-31 was introduced during launches on Wednesday as a “new-type strategic cruise missile under development,” four days later, the latest reports out of the North clarified that uses a submarine as its launch platform. 
 
“The cruise missiles flew in the sky above the East Sea for 7,421 seconds and 7,445 seconds to hit the island target,” the Rodong Sinmun reported. “Kim Jong-un expressed great satisfaction over the result of the test.”
 
The news outlet did not specify the name of the submarine that launched the missile or the trajectory length of the missile. While the report did not reveal how many missiles were launched, the language suggests that two missiles were probably launched.
 

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun reported on Jan. 29 that one day prior leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the test of a submarine-launched strategic cruise missile known as the Pulhwasal-3-31. (KCNA/Yonhap)
North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun reported on Jan. 29 that one day prior leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the test of a submarine-launched strategic cruise missile known as the Pulhwasal-3-31. (KCNA/Yonhap)


Photos published by the Rodong Sinmun show a missile rising from the ocean at a slanted angle, which suggests that it was being launched from a torpedo tube rather than a vertical launcher.
 
“Reiterating that the nuclear weaponization of the navy is an urgent task of the times and a core requirement for building the state nuclear strategic force, [Kim] set forth the important tasks arising in realizing the nuclear weaponization of the navy and expanding the sphere of operation of the state nuclear deterrence in a diversified way,” the Rodong Sinmun reported.
 
The outlet went on to state that Kim had “learned in detail about the building of a nuclear submarine,” that day. “He discussed the issues related to the building of a nuclear-powered submarine and other new-type warships, indicated the immediate tasks to be carried out by relevant sectors and state measures to be taken, and made an important conclusion on the ways to implement them.”
 
The report revealed that Kim was accompanied by “secretaries of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and the commander of the Navy and other leading officials,” and the published photos show notable individuals such as Kim Myong-sik, the commander of the Korean People’s Navy; Jang Chang-ha, the head of the General Missile Bureau; and Kim Jong-sik, the deputy director of the Munitions Industry Department of the WPK Central Committee.
 
On Sept. 6, 2023, Kim Jong-un attended the launch ceremony of North Korea’s first operational tactical nuclear attack submarine, Submarine No. 841, dubbed the Hero Kim Kun Ok. There, he stated that the submarine would serve as the “model” for Pyongyang’s “plan to remodel existing medium-sized submarines into offensive ones.”
 
At the time, Kim emphasized that the aforementioned plan was part of a “low-cost ultra-modernization strategy.”

By Lee Je-hun, senior staff writer

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