While President Trump is vowing to inflict ‘fire and fury,’ the Kim regime is making steady progress on an undersea nuke that could evade missile defenses.
North Korea has been steadily assembling all the technologies it needs to put a nuclear warhead on a submarine-launched missile.
If the Pyongyang regime deploys an effective undersea nuke—and all signs point toward that eventuality—it might be able to sail a sub behind U.S. defenses on the Korean Peninsula and launch a surprise strike on South Korean cities.
The new undersea threat comes at a time of escalating hostility between the United States and North Korea. The communist country recently produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles, according to The Washington Post. Warhead-miniaturization is “a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power,” the Post reported.
In response to the report, President Donald Trump vowed to to inflict “fire and fury” on North Korea. A North Korean army commander called Trump’s threat “a load of nonsense.”
On Aug. 8, Pyongyang announced it was preparing a plan for a preemptive strike on the U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam. Responding to that threat, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis warned North Korea to “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and the destruction of its people.”
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (front) stands on the conning tower of a submarine during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang June 16, 2014.
As the rhetoric on both sides grows more heated, North Korea is marching along the path toward a functional, long-range nuclear arsenal. Pyongyang possesses a increasing number of rockets that are presumably compatible with the new, smaller warheads it reportedly has developed. On July 4 and again on July 28, North Korea tested a ground-launched intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the continental United States from the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang also fields hundreds of shorter-range rockets.
The U.S. military has deployed missile defenses that can, in theory, intercept these ground-launched rockets. To protect South Korea and American forces in that country, the U.S. Army has positioned a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in central South Korea. To destroy ICBMs headed for North America, the Army has installed ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) rockets in Alaska and California.