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SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected a large, newly built submarine, state news agency KCNA reported on Tuesday, potentially signaling continued development of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program.
Kim inspected the operational and tactical data and combat weapon systems of the submarine that was built under "his special attention", and will be operational in the waters off the east coast, KCNA said.
It said the submarine's operational deployment was near.
"The operational capacity of a submarine is an important component in national defense of our country bounded on its east and west by sea," Kim said.
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile alert facility for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
The Defense Department is weighing a plan to deploy F-35 fighters to hover on the outskirts of North Korea airspace and neutralize intercontinental ballistic missiles shortly after launch, Reuters reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Wednesday that Russia will target the U.S. with new weapons should Washington decide to deploy intermediate-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to Europe following the recent death of a Cold War-era arms control agreement, according to multiple reports.
By 2020, North Korea could possess as many as 100 nuclear warheads.
That's the startling conclusion of a January 2019 report from the RAND Corporation, a California think tank with close ties to the U.S. military.