Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - North Korean submarine missile threat prompts US-led military drills



North Korean submarine missile threat prompts US-led military drills

A US Navy photo of a medium-range ballistic missile target launched during a successful interception test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, August 30 2017.
A US Navy photo of a medium-range ballistic missile target launched during a successful interception test at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, August 30 2017. Latonja Martin/U.S. Navy via The New York Times

North Korean submarine missile threat prompts US-led military drills

HONG KONG — Amid fears that North Korea is rapidly developing its submarine-launched ballistic missile technology, the United States, Japan and South Korea are teaming up for a drill to track such hard-to-detect missiles, military officials said Monday.

The drill is taking place over two days in waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, said South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, and will involve destroyers from the three nations doing computer-simulated training to track submarine missile launchings by North Korea.

The drills come in the wake of news reports that North Korea is making progress developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles, or SLBMs. The website 38 North, based at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, obtained images of cylindrical objects, evidence that “suggests construction of a new submarine” at a facility on North Korea’s east coast.

Any North Korean capability to field submarine-launched ballistic missiles in open waters would be particularly worrying for the United States and its allies, since such missiles are hard to detect before launching. In August 2016, North Korea successfully tested such a missile from near its submarine base in Sinpo, sending it 310 miles toward Japan in a launch that came after several failed tests.

The military manoeuvres come a week after the United States and South Korea began holding joint drills that included flyovers of advanced stealth fighters and B1-B Lancer bombers over the Korean Peninsula, exercises that led North Korea to accuse the United States of pushing the region “to the brink of nuclear war.”

To step up pressure, South Korea on Monday imposed a new round of sanctions on 20 North Korean groups and 12 individuals. The sanctions, an effort to curtail North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs, were imposed in retaliation for the North’s launching of a missile in late November that experts said was capable of hitting much of the continental United States.

Separately, Nikki R. Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, said over the weekend that the United States would send a full delegation of athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. Her remarks on “Fox News Sunday” came days after she sowed doubt about participation in the games by saying it was an “open question” whether American athletes would participate, given the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Gerry Mullany/The New York Times

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration

  • Howard Johnson opens in Sihanoukville

    New York Stock Exchange- (NYSE) listed hotel franchiser Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc (WH) has opened its first hotel in the Kingdom – the Howard Johnson Plaza by Wyndham Blue Bay Sihanoukville, WH said in a February 18 press release. WH said the new 36-storey property in Sihanoukville’

  • Cambodia’s new draft law on investment and its effects

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) has completed the drafting of the long-awaited new Law on Investment. The draft will be later tabled at the Economic and Financial Policy Committee before being submitted to the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly for