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N.K. leader inspects new submarine to be deployed in East Sea: state media

North Korea 09:15 July 23, 2019

SEOUL, July 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected a newly constructed submarine, calling for the development of naval armed forces to boost the country's military capabilities, Pyongyang's state media reported Tuesday.

Accompanied by senior officials from the ruling party and the field of national defense science, Kim looked into the new submarine's capabilities and expressed "great satisfaction," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The submarine, "built under the meticulous guidance and special attention" of Kim, "will perform its duty in the operational waters of the East Sea of Korea and its operational deployment is near at hand," it said.

It did not disclose when or where the inspection took place, nor did it provide details on the submarine.

"Explaining the Party's strategic plan for the use of submarine and underwater operation, he elaborated on the immediate duty and strategic tasks facing the field of national defense science and submarine industry to carry out the plan," the report said.

Kim said "the operational capacity of a submarine is an important component in national defense" for North Korea which is "bounded on its east and west by sea," and he "stressed the need to steadily and reliably increase the national defense capability by directing big efforts to the development of the naval weapons and equipment such as submarine."

The inspection appears aimed at putting pressure on Washington ahead of possible talks between the two sides.

Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump met at the inter-Korean border on June 30 and agreed to resume their working-level nuclear talks within a few weeks.

The talks had been expected to start in mid-July but Pyongyang has reportedly not responded to Washington's offer for dialogue.

Pyongyang recently slammed the U.S. for planning to hold joint military drills with South Korea next month, warning that it could affect the agreed-upon talks.

In this photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on July 23, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) inspects a new submarine. The agency didn't provide the date or location. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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