N. Korea declares no-sail zone on its east coast: Yonhap

N. Korea declares no-sail zone on its east coast: Yonhap

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Analysts suspect SLBM launch or “new type of ballistic missile”
Chad O’Carroll
North Korea has declared a no-sail zone along its east coast in advance of a possible missile test, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency claimed on Sunday.
The no-sail zone is focused in the East Sea near Wonsan and will be in place between November 11 and December 7, an anonymous government source told Yonhap.“It is a vast area of the sea, so we are closely watching whether the North will launch a Scud or a new type of ballistic missile,” the source said.
Another anonymous source speculated to Yonhap that the test could involve “a new type of missile that separates into several sub-missiles at a high altitude” or North Korea’s emerging submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) technology.
NK News director of intelligence John Grisafi said a SLBM test could be possible, based on the recent mounting of a vertical structure at the testing facility.
“Since Sinpo is home to North Korea’s primary submarine-building and naval research & development facilities and is already known to be the base of what has been called the Sinpo-class submarine, the test stand facility is likely intended for testing submarine-launched missiles.
Satellite imagery published by Google Earth showed a vertical structure on the test stand being placed there sometime between “August to October, having last been seen there in July 2014.”
“North Korea has been working toward development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile capability, having already conducted a submerged ejection test of the Pukkuksong-1 (“Polaris 1″ or KN-11) last May.
“A functioning SLBM and associated submarine would give North Korea a more diverse strike capability, increasing the threat of a potential nuclear strike,” he said. “It is likely, though, that North Korea still has a long way to go in the process of developing such a complex capability.”
Over the past 12 months North Korea has threatened on multiple occasions that it would conduct further satellite launches this year, which if they went ahead would involve technology that could also be used for a long-range missile.
But despite widespread suspicions that Pyongyang would attempt a further satellite launch to coincide with the 70th founding of the Worker’s Party of Korea in October, no such launch went ahead.
(Chad O’Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.)

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