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Report: North Korea's next provocation could involve SLBM

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: North Korea's next provocation could involve SLBM
An image released Wednesday shows Kim Jong Un standing by the Hwasong-15, a long-range missile. North Korea could turn its attention to SLBM launches soon, according to a Japanese press report. Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- North Korea may soon engage in its next provocation and test a submarine-launched ballistic missile, according to a Japanese press report.

The Tokyo Shimbun reported Thursday the Kim Jong Un regime could soon launch the Pukguksong-3, a SLBM that is nearing completion.

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Quoting a source familiar with the North Korean military, the newspaper's China-based correspondent reported North Korea may be placing finishing touches on the missile, and could test the weapon soon.

The fuselage of the Pukuguksong-3 is slimmer than the Pukguksong-1, and up to two of the missiles can be deployed to a newly built submarine, the source said.

North Korea successfully tested the Pukuguksong-1 in August 2016. In February 2017, the regime tested the Pukguksong-2, an upgraded SLBM.

North Korea launched what it claimed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15, and released images of the launch on Wednesday.

Images of Kim included the leader by the gigantic rocket.

Michael Duistman, an analyst with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies said the size of the Hwasong-15 signifies a new stage in North Korea's nuclear development.

"Only a few countries can produce missiles of this size, and North Korea just joined the club," the analyst said, according to the BBC.

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The size of the missile's nose cone indicates it could carry a "super-large heavy" nuclear warhead, according to the report.

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