mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
A Correction
North Korea Fakes Submarine Missile Test

On May 12, we wrote about a statement from South Korean defense officials about a North Korean test launch of a missile from a submarine. As we mentioned at the time, U.S. analysts were skeptical that Pyongyang could have developed this technology so quickly. The doubters turn out to be right, according to Reuters:

Photographs showing a North Korean missile launched from a submarine were manipulated by state propagandists and the country may be years away from developing such technology, analysts and a top U.S. military official said on Tuesday.[…]

On Wednesday, North Korea warned the United States not to challenge its sovereign right to boost military deterrence and boasted of its ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads, a claim it has made before and which has been widely questioned by experts and never verified.

But North Korea is still “many years” from developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles, U.S. Admiral James Winnefeld told an audience at the Centre for Strategic & International Studies in Washington on Tuesday.

“They have not gotten as far as their clever video editors and spinmeisters would have us believe,” said Winnefeld, who is vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So while it’s still true that North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities are worrying, as is the apparent uncertainty about their sophistication among Pyongyang’s enemies, for now we don’t have to fear nuclear missile-armed submarine technology. We just have to watch out for North Korean photoshop.


Features Icon
show comments
  • Kevin

    Of course a freighter with a nuke onboard sailing into an American port could do just as much damage…

    • f1b0nacc1

      Or simply smuggle it across the border, put it in the back of a shipping container, and drive it into the nearest inland target…
      One hardly needs a missile to deliver the thing. And if you MUST use a sub for the job, why not just sail the sub into the harbor in question and detonate it. You wouldn’t even have to tell the crew, just one ‘reliable’ officer.
      One minor thing….why do you assume that the US would be the target? Japan or SK would be far more suitable targets…

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service