SEOUL, North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities are operating normally and the communist nation also appears to be building a new submarine capable of launching ballistic missiles, an opposition lawmaker said Thursday, citing defense ministry information.
Rep. Kim Hack-yong of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, who served as chairman of the parliamentary defense committee, disclosed the information in a statement, saying he was recently briefed by the ministry on North Korea's military activities.
"Nothing has changed in North Korea," Kim said.
According to Kim, South Korean and U.S. military authorities believe that various facilities at the North's Yongbyon nuclear complex north of Pyongyang are operating normally.
Kim also said the North is showing signs of building a new submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles at its Sinpo shipyard on the east coast. Missile engine test sites, including the one at the North's Dongchangni missile center, also appear to be operating normally, Kim said.
"Contrary to our military's suspension of joint Korea-U.S. military exercises, North Korea is conducting military exercises on a scale similar to previous years," Kim said. "The military is also strengthening ideological education, such as holding anti-American discussions."
Blowing up the nuclear test site was all that the North has done with regard to denuclearization, he said.
"While the unification ministry and the foreign ministry move forward with denuclearization discussions aimed at scrapping North Korea's nuclear program, the defense ministry should further strengthen military preparedness so as to use it as a pressure card in negotiations with the North," he said.
Source: Yonhap News Agency