According to the South Korean news outlet Yonhap News, two additional U.S. Aircraft carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz, have been deployed to join the USS Carl Vinson and the Carl Vinson Strike Group, which are currently heading towards the Korean Peninsula.
The move comes as North Korea continues to take provocative actions, including warning that “nuclear war could break out at any moment.”
Over the weekend, North Korea showed off a submarine-based missile system for the first time during a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang.
Choe Ryong Hae, a close aide to Kim Jong-un, the current leader, addressed the packed square and reiterated the warning to the United States.
“If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating strike, and we will respond to all-out war with all-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike warfare,” he said.
While many have dismissed North Korea’s ability to fire off an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States, the nuclear attack threat from a North Korean submarine is a growing concern.
Experts believe North Korea’s navy has around 70 submarines in its fleet, but even those numbers are disputed as the whereabouts of many of these submarines remains unclear. Back in 2015, we lost track of 50 of their submarines, which caused panic in South Korea and Japan.
According to the Daily Express, Security expert, Bruce Klingner told CNBC: ‘We didn’t know where they were at the time. One would hope that we would keep very close tabs on those that could launch the submarine-launched ballistic Missiles [SLBMs].
‘All of that is very worrisome because that may very well have a nuclear weapon someday.’
How big is the North Korean Submarine threat?
Consider this; South American drug cartels routinely get past our Navy and Coast Guard with crude diesel electric-powered submarines. In fact, according to a US Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) report on narco submarines, 30% of the drugs that arrived in the US by sea were brought here via narco submarines.
If so many of these Narcos can make it to the U.S. undetected, in rudimentary submarines that aren’t nearly as technologically advanced as what North Korea possesses, is it that far-fetched to believe North Korea could reach our shores?
During the military parade, North Korea rolled out several KN-11 (Pukguksong-1) submarine-launched ballistic missiles, the KN-15 (Pukguksong-2) road-mobile, land-based variation, a number of KN-08 missiles, and several potential launchers for North Korea’s KN-08 or KN-14 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Military experts believe the KN-08 missile could be capable of hitting the United States, although North Korea has yet to test them.
A day after the parade, which was a national celebration of the birth of Kim Il-Sung, the founder of North Korea and the grandfather of the country’s current leader, Kim Jung-Un, North Korea attempted another missile launch. According to reports, the launch failed; but a number of foreign media outlets are reporting that the launch may have failed due to a U.S. cyber attack against North Korea’s missile systems.
According to the former British foreign secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the missile test likely failed because the U.S. interfered with the workings of the missile’s system.
“It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the U.S. –– through cyber methods –– has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail,” Rifkind told the BBC on Sunday.
In a statement from the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said: “The president and his military team are aware of North Korea’s most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment.”
China and Russia reportedly dispatch spy ships to shadow U.S. Strike Forces
According to Japanese Media, China and Russia have dispatched spy vessels to shadow the U.S. Strike groups that are moving into the region.
The deployment comes as US vice president Mike Pence, warned North Korea that the “era of strategic patience is over” during a visit to South Korea.
The Yomiuri Shimbun, citing “multiple sources of the Japanese government”, said China and Russia had “dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson”.
The ships are “strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area,” Japan’s largest daily newspaper said, according to its English language sister publication, The Japan News.
During Vice President Pence’s visit he warned:
“President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out and we want to see change.” … “All options are on the table” in dealing with Pyongyang, and that the US would meet a nuclear threat with “an overwhelming and effective response.”
Earlier in the week President Trump said he hoped China would help deal with North Korea, but warned the U.S. would take action if China failed to act.
I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U.S., with its allies, will! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017
Complicating matters even more, and setting up the possiblty for a world-wide conflict, Russia warned the U.S. against taking ‘Syria-style’ actions in North Korea.
“I hope that there won’t be any unilateral actions like we recently saw in Syria and that the US will follow the policies Trump repeatedly declared during his election campaign,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, regarding the statement made by US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday during his visit to South Korea.
The Russian foreign minister warned not to take any military actions and stressed that the “risky nuclear and missile endeavors of Pyongyang” violating UNSC resolutions could not be used as an excuse for violating international law and the UN Charter “in the same fashion” as in Syria.