Read this paragraph and tell me what is wrong with it, or what at least jumps out at you, fellow Korea watchers:
“For weeks, North Korea observers have speculated that Pyongyang was preparing an election surprise for the U.S., perhaps testing a submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile. So far there’s been no launch, but the strange shooting death this weekend of a South Korean official who might have been looking to enter the North by boat nonetheless highlights the hair-trigger on which the Peninsula still rests.”
The graph, courtesy of former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that did not get the attention it should have, suggests that North Korea has, is developing, or is close to testing a submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missile. As in, a missile fired from a submarine that could hit the U.S. homeland.
Well, unless Bolton just revealed some sort of classified information that no one knows, that is flat out wrong.
The best submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) the North Koreans have, at least out in open source information, is the Pukguksong-3, with a range of 1,900-2,000 km. I can’t see how this missile would get to 5,500 km, the range needed to be classified as an ICBM. Could Bolton be discussing a new missile, one that is not known? While I won’t rule it out, it seems unlikely.
Let’s just hope Bolton made a writing error or a Wall Street Journal Editor made an editing mistake. But this is North Korea, and nothing would shock me anymore.
Image: KCNA/North Korean State Media.