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(Bloomberg) -- Kim Jong Un has spent much of his time as North Korea’s leader developing bigger and more advanced nuclear weapons. This year, he may try to make them harder to find by putting them under the sea.Recent North Korean reports touting a new submarine and its test of a ballistic missile designed to be launched from one have fueled speculation that a sub may be the “new strategic weapon” Kim promised to unveil this year. While such a vessel would probably be noisy and unable to stray far from the coast without being tracked, it may be enough to serve Kim’s needs.Even one submarine lurking off the Korean Peninsula, beyond the gaze of spy satellites, would give U.S. military planners a dangerous new threat to consider in the event of any conflict. And for Kim, anything that makes it harder for the U.S. to imagine an actual war, brings him closer to a goal that alluded his father: international recognition as a nuclear state.“In terms of war planning, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan need to take the undersea nuclear threat seriously and plan for anti-submarine warfare contingencies,” said Ankit Panda, an adjunct senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists and author of the upcoming book “Kim Jong Un and the Bomb: Survival and Deterrence in North Korea.”

(彭博社)——金正恩作为朝鲜领导人花费了大量时间研发更大更先进的核武器。 今年,他可能会把它们放到海底,让它们更难被发现。最近朝鲜的报道吹捧了一艘设计用于发射弹道导弹的新潜艇,并且试验了它,这使得人们猜测潜艇可能是金正恩今年承诺展示的“新战略武器”。 虽然这样的船只可能噪音很大,无法远离海岸而不被跟踪,但它可能足以满足金正恩的需要。即使是潜伏在朝鲜半岛附近的一艘潜艇,它也超出了间谍卫星的监视范围,会让美国军事规划者,在发生任何冲突时都需要考虑的具有危险性的新威胁。对金正恩来说,任何让美国想象中的一个真实战争更加艰难,都会让他更接近他父亲的目标:国际社会承认他们是一个有核国家。安基特潘达说:“在战争演习方面,美国、韩国和日本需要认真对待海底的核威胁,并为未来可能发生的反潜作战做好应急计划”,他是美国科学家联盟的兼职高级研究员,也是即将出版的新书《金正恩与原子弹: 朝鲜的生存与威慑》的作者

North Korea sent out a fresh reminder that it’s ready for conflict with Japan, warning its mortal enemy in a state media report late Tuesday that “it will fall into the abyss of ruin” if it tries to flex its military might.Vice Admiral Jon Hill, the head of the U.S.’s Missile Defense Agency, expressed confidence in the allies’ ability to counter a nuclear-armed submarine after the latest SLBM test. “We need to keep an eye on it and continue to assess that to make sure the architecture’s in place to deal with it,” Hill told a Center for Strategic & International Studies gathering in October.North Korea has already teased the construction of a submarine that may be able to carry the new missile, publishing photos in July of Kim inspecting a large vessel under construction. The photos appeared to show a modified version of the diesel-electric Romeo-class vessels that comprise about one-third of the Korean People’s Navy fleet, said Joseph Dempsey, a London-based research associate for defense and military analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.North Korea acquired seven Romeo-class submarines from China in the mid-1970s and began producing them domestically from kits until 1995, according to a study by the Nuclear Threat Initiative. The newer version appears to have an enlarged “sail” -- the highest part of the vessel -- to accommodate about three missile launch tubes, Dempsey said.


“The scenario of a North Korean submarine creeping out into the Pacific with a nuclear-capable ballistic missile on board might capture the imagination, but it has little basis in reality,” said Panda, of the Federation of American Scientists.The real value in a nuclear-armed submarine may be in its potential to strengthen Kim’s position in negotiations with the U.S. Each advance toward a more credible nuclear weapon raises the costs of any American-led military action and reduces Washington’s leverage toward eliminating -- rather than reducing or capping -- his nuclear arsenal.North Korea sees its submarine as an underwater complement to the land-based missile transporters that it has demonstrated with increasing effectiveness in recent years, said Dempsey, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. They just need another platform to divide the attention of U.S. and South Korean military commanders.“For the purposes of providing an initial at-sea nuclear capability, this approach could be sufficient,” Dempsey said. “All they need to do is avoid being detected,” he said, “so they can launch their missile.”(Adds statement from North Korea’s state media in paragraph 9.)

人们可能会想象这样的情景:“北朝鲜的潜艇进入太平洋,船上载有具备核攻击能力的弹道导弹”,但是这种想象在现实中几乎没有根据,美国科学家联盟的Panda说。核潜艇的真正价值可能在于,它有可能加强金正恩在与美国谈判中的地位。朝着更可靠的核武器迈进的每一步,都会增加美国领导的任何军事行动的成本,并降低华盛顿消除——而不是减少或限制朝鲜的核武库的筹码。国际战略研究所的邓普西表示,朝鲜认为自己的潜艇是对陆基导弹运输机的补充,近年来,朝鲜已经证明了这种运输机越来越有效果。他们只是需要另一个平台来分散美国和韩国军事指挥官的注意力。邓普西说:“为了提供初期的海上核能力,这种方法已经足够了。”。 “他们所需要做的就是避免被发现,”他说,“这样他们就可以发射导弹。”(朝鲜官方媒体在第9段中增加了声明)