North Korea’s New Weapon
North Korea’s Latest Weapons Test Is Short in Range but Long in Message
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North Korea’s Latest Weapons Test Is Short in Range but Long in Message

SEOUL, South Korea: Kim Jong-un is back to sabre rattling as he seeks to lift the sanctions that are impeding his plans to revive the North Korea economy, as evidenced by his test of what analysts speculated might be a new short-range guided or cruise missile. 

A photo released by North Korea’s state news agency, purportedly showing the
country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, at a military airfield on Tuesday.
Credit…Korean Central News Agency, via Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea: Kim Jong-un is back to sabre rattling as he seeks to lift the sanctions that are impeding his plans to revive the North Korean economy. As evidenced by his test of what analysts speculated might be a new short-range guided or cruise missile. 

He is attempting to regain leverage over the United States without endangering the president while feeling embarrassed at home. Over their recent summit meeting in Vietnam, analysts said on Thursday.

Pressure on Trump

Mr. Kim increased the pressure on Mr. Trump this week by returning to his visits to military installations and weapons storage facilities. Which he had generally avoided during his diplomatic interactions with the American president.

Since their meeting in Vietnam, Mr. Kim has expressed hesitations about working with either Mr. Trump or South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Whose attempts to serve as a mediator between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump have failed. 

Last week, in a rare policy speech, Mr. Kim warned his people not to count on sanctions being lifted anytime soon and to brace themselves for a “protracted” conflict with the US. He did, however, add that he would be open to another meeting with Mr. Trump if Washington presented him with a fresh proposal by the end of the year.

His Tuesday visit to a military airfield, where he observed air force pilots operating Russian-made MiG fighter jets. Shed light on an air force that has been severely affected by sanctions. Had to ground its warplanes due to fuel shortages. The North Korean news media published images of fighter jets roaring off as Mr. Kim looked on. In which analysts called a display of defiance against sanctions.

But the most obvious indication to Washington that the North’s tactics are hardening was Mr. Kim’s attendance at the testing of “a new-type tactical guided weapon,” which was announced on Thursday.

Officials from the United States, South Korea, and Japan declined to comment on the kind of weapon North Korea tested, stating that they were still reviewing the information at hand. According to unnamed defence sources cited by the South Korean news agency Yonhap, the missile had a short range and flew so low that it evaded detection by the American military’s Northern Command, which routinely tracks North Korean missiles.

According to Shin Jong-woo, a weapons expert at Korea Defense Forum, a network of military analysts based in Seoul, the weapon was most likely a short-range guided missile, like the Israeli-made Spike missile, which flies low and typically only covers a very small distance.

“It’s part of the North’s efforts to improve its decrepit conventional weapons systems, now that it has completed a nuclear arsenal,” he said.

The weapon of North Korea

The new weapon, according to Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Seoul’s Kyungnam University’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, appears to be a short-range cruise missile.


“It is highly likely that this missile is a short-range cruise missile that can be converted to a land-to-land, air-to-land and ship-to-ship missile,” Mr. Kim said, noting that North Korea said the test was “conducted in various modes of firing at different targets.”

The recent North Korean weapons test highlighted the delicate nature of confronting North Korea’s extensive missile arsenal. South Korea and Japan are more concerned about North Korea’s short- and medium-range missiles than Washington is about its efforts to develop ICBMs with nuclear warheads. These missiles also aim at American military installations in the area, which act as launching pads for additional American forces in the event of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

Intercontinental ballistic missiles during a military parade in Pyongyang in 2017.Credit…Damir Sagolj/Reuters

North Korea:Testing of the weapons

The recent North Korean weapons test highlighted the delicate nature of confronting North Korea’s extensive missile arsenal. South Korea and Japan are more concerned about North Korea’s short- and medium-range missiles than Washington is about its efforts to develop ICBMs with nuclear warheads. These missiles also aim at American military installations in the area, which act as launching pads for additional American forces in the event of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

A South Korean defence official dodged numerous questions from reporters seeking more information during a news briefing in Seoul on Thursday. Japanese government representatives also resisted commenting on the situation.

In November 2017, North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in what was the nation’s most recent significant weapons test. However, Mr. Kim recently proclaimed a ban on nuclear and ICBM tests.

According to analysts, North Korea is playing its cards carefully by testing a short-range tactical weapon. With such a test, Mr. Kim can put pressure on the White House while still maintaining his ability to uphold the moratorium.

Karl Dewey, a senior analyst at Jane’s by IHS Markit, said that North Korea’s “stress on the weapon’s tactical nature” was “primarily aimed at a domestic audience, rather than signaling a shift in North Korea’s strategic approach to U.S. talks.”

However, other analysts claimed that the test was a more worrying message directed at Washington.

North Korea: Kims Message To Trump

According to Lee Byong-chul, another North Korea expert at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, “Kim Jong-un is sending a message that he no longer trusts Trump or Moon Jae-in and that he is ready to go his own way.” He is demonstrating that there will be no capitulating to American pressure or making compromises. It’s possible that Mr. Kim’s move to escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula is his first.

Gina Haspel, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, said in a speech on Thursday at Auburn University in Alabama, “I am very proud that we’ve been able to support this administration’s efforts to engage the North Koreans in a dialogue.”

She continued, “After years of failure, I do think President Trump has shown a lot of wisdom in reaching out to the North Korean leader and suggesting there might be a different future for the North Korean people.

China and Russia, who both have veto power on the UN Security Council, are relied upon by North Korea to act as a stopgap against American efforts to impose additional sanctions. Tens of thousands of North Korean labourers are also housed in China and Russia, where they provide the Kim regime with much-needed hard currency. In order to help North Korea evade sanctions, Russian entities are allegedly involved in illegal ship-to-ship transfers of coal and oil, according to a report by the United Nations sanctions committee.

More than 93 percent of North Korea’s exports are dependent on China. However, analysts said that Beijing’s involvement in the trade conflict with Washington may make it more difficult for Moscow to assist North Korea in lessening the impact of sanctions.

According to David Kim, a research analyst at the Stimson Center in Washington, “Kim doesn’t want to put all his eggs in China’s basket because there is heavy reliance on the country for North Korea’s economic livelihood.” Kim Jong-un aims to demonstrate to the United States that China is not their only choice. 

North Korea said on Thursday that, despite the fact that relations between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump were still cordial, talks could not move forward until the United States dropped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from its team. This was another indication of North Korea’s frustration with dealing with the United States. It attributed the failure of the Vietnam meeting to his “meddling.”

According to Kwon Jong-gun, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official in charge of American affairs, even if talks with the United States are resumed, “I hope that we can have as an interlocutor not Pompeo but someone else who is better in communication and more mature,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported.


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Muntazir Mehdi is founding member and managing director of Article Thirteen blog. He is a strategic writer. At the age of 21, he began his writing career while pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration at Karachi University. he has published numerous articles on business tech, healthcare, lifestyle and fashion.
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