North Korea has launched its first operational tactical nuclear attack submarine, and assigned it to the fleet that patrols the waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who attended the launch ceremony said arming the navy with nuclear weapons was an urgent task and promised to transfer more underwater and surface vessels equipped with tactical nuclear weapons to the naval forces.
The submarine-launching ceremony heralded the beginning of a new chapter for bolstering up the naval force of North Korea.
Achieving a rapid development of our naval forces is a priority that cannot be delayed given the enemies' recent aggressive moves and military acts, the North Korean leader said in a speech, apparently referring to the United States and South Korea.
The designation as a "tactical" submarine suggests it does not carry submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) that can reach the U.S. mainland, but rather smaller, short-range SLBMs or submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) capable of striking South Korea, Japan, or other regional targets.