by Mac Slavo, SHTFPlan:
Last week North and South Korea exchanged live artillery fire across the demilitarized zone known as the 39th parallel. The standoff has led to threats from both sides, with a reported doubling of the military personnel and artillery on the northern side of the border.
While negotiators discuss a settlement behind closed doors, the situation remains tense and both countries are maintaining high alert levels.
This morning, it was reported that some 50 North Korean submarines stationed around the peninsula and visible to Western radar systems suddenly vanished, suggesting that the leader Kim Jong Un is preparing his forces for pre-emptive strike in the event that talks between the two nations fail.
North Korea seems to be stepping up preparations for a military provocation even as ongoing high-level talks seek to avert the worst.
More than 50 North Korean submarines have apparently been sent out on mystery missions, and artillery strength and warfare-readiness along the frontline have been raised to the max, a military source said Sunday.
That suggests the North has embraced a two-prong strategy tempering its traditional brinkmanship with diplomacy.
“The current sortie rate of North Korean submarines is as high as 10 times the rate in ordinary times,” a military official said. “Scores of subs that have left their bases on the eastern and western coasts are off our radar, which is an unprecedentedly serious situation.”
Due to North Korea’s notoriously secretive military protocols, it’s anyone’s guess what mission the submarines were given. Some suggest they may be transporting commandos who would launch surprise attacks should talks break down. Other analysts indicate that the North may be preparing for attacks against military and commercial shipping vessels, which would not be unprecedented as evidenced by the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel in 2010.
One major concern among officials in South Korea and the United States is that some of the submarines may be armed with nuclear weapons. The countrysuccessfully launched a submarine-based ballistic missile in May of this year and has had an active nuclear weapons program for over a decade.
It has been previously reported that North Korea has developed a high-altitude nuclear weapon known as a “Super EMP” that could be exploded over the United States causing significant damage to the national power grid. In 2013 North Korea launched a satellite into space that, according to some U.S. officials, may have had a space-based super-EMP weapon aboard, suggesting that such a weapon does in fact exist in the North’s arsenal.
U.S. officials quietly are expressing concern that North Korea could use its “space launch vehicle” to explode a high-altitude nuclear device over the United States, creating an electromagnetic pulse that would destroy major portions of the U.S. electrical grid system as well as the nation’s critical infrastructures.
The concern is so great that U.S. officials who watch North Korea closely are continually monitoring the status of the North Korean “space launch vehicle,” whose status could suggest a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the United States.
Two years on, it’s quite possible that North Korea has modified such a weapon for ballistic missile deployment from a submarine, the effects of which would be catastrophic should Kim Jong Un’s regime decide to attack the United States with a first-strike destabilizing blow in an effort to prevent a coordinated military response should the country move on the South.
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