May 12 (UPI) -- North Korea could soon deploy new submarine-launched ballistic missiles, according to a South Korean press report.
News 1 reported Monday the Kim Jong Un regime could stage an SLBM launch on upcoming anniversaries in September or October, citing South Korean diplomatic sources.
The North Korean leader has mostly stayed away from public appearances since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but key anniversaries, including national foundation day on Sept. 9 and Korean Workers' Party foundation day on Oct. 10, could be opportunities for Kim to showcase weapon power, according to the report.
North Korea could also begin "full-scale demonstrations" of SLBMs, before September, the report says.
Seoul's national intelligence service confirmed North Korea conducted a ground test of an SLBM at Sinpo Shipyard last Wednesday. South Korea's spy agency has also identified a Sinpo class submarine, also known as the Gorae or "Whale" class, and equipment for underwater launch on site, according to News 1.
North Korea first disclosed its new 3,000-ton Golf-class submarine in July 2019 at Sinpo Shipyard. In October, North Korea test-launched a new type of SLBM, the Pukguksong-3. Pyongyang continues to move rapidly with SLBM development, the report says.
North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles pose the greatest potential threat to the United States. Pyongyang's SLBMs raise security risks for U.S. troops in South Korea, U.S. Forces Japan, and military bases in Guam, according to News 1.
North Korea could be resuming weapons development as the U.S. military continues to keep a close eye on the regime.
On Tuesday Aircraft Spots, the online aviation tracker, tweeted the United States deployed two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers.
The aircraft flew close to the Korean Peninsula, after flying from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, according to the tracker.