North Korea modernizes its military forces at its naval base

North Korea is developing nuclear weapons and missiles, but recent satellite images indicate that Kim Jong Un is also improving the country’s conventional military capabilities. File photo by James Mossman/USAF | License picture

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) — Munchon, North Korea’s largest naval facility on the east coast, is being modernized and Kim Jong Un appears to be investing heavily in the country’s coastal defenses.

Satellite images analyzed on 38 North, a Johns Hopkins University website, showed that conventional military capabilities are being developed in tandem with weapons of mass destruction.

Analysts Joseph Bermudez and Curtis Melvin say that since 2014, two years after Kim took full power, “aggressive efforts” at Munchon have produced improved training facilities, improved conventional naval weapons systems and improved capabilities special operations.

According to the analysis, improvements to the headquarters and base of Korean People’s Army Navy Unit 291, a navy sniper brigade, began after Kim provided advice on the land individually in May 2013.

Further expansions mean that five naval sniper battalions from North Korea’s East Sea Fleet will be consolidated in Munchon, to improve training and also facilitate amphibious attacks against the South Korea in the event of a conflict, write the analysts.

The naval base has traditionally been symbolically important to the North Korean regime.

The three leaders visited the Korean People’s Army Unit 155, located at the facility: Kim Il Sung in 1970, Kim Jong Il in 2004 and 2008, and Kim Jong Un in April 2012, according to the report.

Unit 155 was responsible for the February 2015 “anti-ship rocket test firing” guided by Kim Jong Un.


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