U.S. commander: Military-backed diplomacy needed to deal with N. Korea

Japanese PM Abe shakes hands with the 24th Commander of USPACOM Harris in Tokyo

It said these appeared larger than those for North Korea's ROMEO-class attack submarine. In this photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides on the spot the underwater test-fire of strategic submarine ballistic missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on April 24, 2016.

Overhead pictures, taken just weeks ago, show construction work and increased activity at North Korea's Sinpo South naval shipyard.

Abe told Fox News earlier this month that he hoped to "further solidify the U.S. -Japan alliance" against North Korea.

"The continued movement of parts and components into and out of the parts yards adjacent to the construction halls indicates an ongoing shipbuilding program".

Speculations of the ballistic submarine construction have been under scrutiny by US intelligence in recent weeks, according to a report by The Diplomat.

The researchers in 38 North spotted two large circular objects on the November 05 images, and they believe that these parts are submarine's pressure hull. But as 38 North reports, ejection tests are expected in the future for submarine-launched ballistic missiles Pukguksong-1, a possible Pukguksong-3 and other missiles.


However, the report said no activity could be seen suggesting preparations for a new test of a submarine-launched missile.

Mr Fitzpatrick also noted that "up to now, North Korea has frequently surprised analysts and exceeded expectations in terms of the pace of its missile development".

The submersible missile test stand barge that has been developing a current SINPO-class experimental ballistic missile submarine has remained docked in the same location for the last four months.

US and South Korean military officials have been on alert for signs that the communist state may conduct another missile test after a more than two-month lull in activity.

North Korea sparked fears of World War 3 after ignoring worldwide sanctions to continue developing and testing nuclear weapons.

CNN quoted an unnamed US defense official as saying there was evidence of an ejection test - which evaluates the "cold-launch system" that propels the missile from the launch canister before its engines ignite - in August. His agenda included strengthening Japan's missile defense capability and purchasing more US -made missile defense systems.

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