North Korea has built a new tactical nuclear submarine. Leader Kim Jong Un revealed it in a public ceremony.
State media covered the event, showing Kim in casual clothes next to the vessel. He said the sub will play a key combat role in the navy.
The submarine is named “Hero Kim Kun Ok” and bears the North Korean flag.
South Korean military officials are skeptical. They told AFP the sub might not be ready for use.
North Korea has been testing more weapons this year. In August, they failed to launch a spy satellite.
This led South Korea and the U.S. to hold joint military drills.
The U.S.-based Nuclear Threat Initiative gave some data. North Korea has between 64 and 86 submarines.
Yet, experts question how many are functional. In 2019, state media showed Kim inspecting a different submarine.
Researcher Joseph Dempsey said it appears to be a modified version of that sub. Analyst Ankit Panda stated the new sub adds to the existing nuclear threat.
South Korea criticized this development. A spokesperson said North Korea is wasting resources while its people suffer.
Relations between the Koreas are tense, with failed talks on nuclear issues.
North Korea’s interest in nuclear technology is not new. They have conducted six nuclear tests since 2006.
The country pulled out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003. This move drew international concern.
Relations with South Korea have been historically tense. The Korean War of 1950-1953 ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Therefore, both countries are technically still at war. Over the years, several peace talks have failed.
The U.S. has tried to negotiate with North Korea as well. But till now, efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula have not succeeded.