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 fully assumed power, “aggressive efforts” at Munchon have produced enhanced training facilities, upgraded conventional naval weapons systems and improved special operations capabilities.
According to the analysis, improvements to the headquarters and base for Korean People’s Army Navy Unit 291, a navy sniper brigade, began after Kim provided field guidance to the unit in May 2013.
Other expansions mean five navy sniper battalions of North Korea’s East Sea Fleet will be consolidated at Munchon, in order to improve training and also to facilitate amphibious attacks against South Korea in the event of conflict, the analysts write.
The naval base has traditionally been symbolically important to the North Korean regime.
Unit 155 was responsible for the February 2015 “anti-ship rocket test-firing” guided by Kim Jong Un.