North Korea’s Daily Missile Launches. Experts have been asking what Kim Jong-Un is really trying to do… | FRIDAY DIGITAL

North Korea’s Daily Missile Launches. Experts have been asking what Kim Jong-Un is really trying to do…

North Korea's "List of Nuclear & Missile Launches" - Military Journalist Fumitaro Kuroi Reports

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<North Korea launched another missile today, a medium-range missile that passed over Japan in the early morning hours of April 4 and is believed to have passed near Aomori Prefecture before falling over the Pacific Ocean. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida strongly condemned North Korea, calling it a “serious challenge to peace and stability. What is his country thinking? What is his country really up to? Military journalist Buntaro Kuroi, who says, “This is just the beginning.

North Korea’s “provocation” has Japan on the brink… A poster of Workers’ Party of Korea General Secretary Kim Jong-Un produced in the DPRK calls for a “construction revolution to bring about better and more splendid living conditions for our people! (Korean Central News Agency) Image: Korean News Agency/Kyodo News Images

The “Mars-12” was launched.

On October 4, North Korea launched a single intermediate-range ballistic missile. It is believed to have a maximum altitude of approximately 1,000 km and a range of approximately 4,600 km. Based on past North Korean missile launches, there is a strong possibility that the missile is a “Mars-12.

The Mars-12 is a liquid-fueled ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 km, and its range makes it a missile that can target the U.S. military base in Guam. The Mars-12 is a liquid-fueled ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 km. Although it is possible to drop the Mars-12 on Japan by launching it on a high trajectory or by other means, there are other missiles aimed at Japan, and there is little point in using a missile capable of hitting Guam to attack Japan. Therefore, the Mars-12 itself is not a direct threat to Japan. North Korea has successfully test-launched this missile three times in 2017, and has declared that it will be deployed in actual warfare.

It means nothing more than “I tried to fly over the Japanese archipelago.”

In fact, on January 30 of this year, the North Koreans launched another missile. This time, it was shot in a mountainous manner with a maximum altitude of 2,000 km and dropped into the Sea of Japan. Two of the Mars 12’s 2017 launches have shot over the Japanese archipelago, and this will be the third time in five years that it has shot over the Japanese archipelago, but that in itself is not a military It is not that any “new threat” has appeared; they may have made some improvements over the past five years, but the missile is basically a missile with technology that has already been perfected and has no more significance than “flying over the Japanese Islands” for the first time in five years.

Nevertheless, it is a fact that North Korea, which for the past five years has kept its firing to a level that does not go beyond the Japanese archipelago in order not to provoke the U.S. more than necessary, has this time politically raised the level of its missile launches by one step. North Korea is prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions from launching any kind of missile using ballistic missile technology, and launching ballistic missiles, including short-range ones, is a violation of international law, but it has already fired a number of missiles of various types into the Sea of Japan, leading to a situation of virtual tacit approval. In the future, if North Korea repeats this pattern of launching missiles over the Japanese archipelago, it will become an established fact, and the situation will become more and more favorable for North Korea.

However, North Korea may not have launched the latest missile launch simply for that purpose. North Korea’s most important goals are to test the launch of a powerful ICBM and, ultimately, to conduct a nuclear test.

In particular, five years have already passed since the last nuclear test, and North Korea must have improved its nuclear technology considerably. Among these, miniaturization is a technology directly related to the conversion of large ICBMs into multiple warheads, the conversion of relatively small short-range missiles into nuclear missiles, and the extension of the range of the same missiles.

Furthermore, the military buildup plan officially announced by Kim Jong-Un in January 2021 includes the phrase “production of super-large nuclear warheads” as well as “downsizing and lightening of nuclear weapons and conversion to tactical weapons. As long as they are officially declaring their intention, they will probably conduct a test of such a weapon at some point.

Preparations for Nuclear Tests

However, a nuclear test would inevitably provoke strong opposition from the United States. For this reason, in the past, North Korea has first conducted missile tests, and then used the threat of U.S. condemnation or pressure through sanctions as an excuse to justify its nuclear tests by saying, “We have no choice but to possess nuclear weapons for our own defense because of the threat of the United States, a nuclear superpower. Based on this past pattern, there is a strong possibility that North Korea will conduct missile tests in stages and finally conduct a nuclear test (in 2017, however, the order was nuclear test followed by ICBM launch).

In January of this year, Kim Jong-Un made a statement to the effect that he would resume long-range missile launches and nuclear tests, which he had previously restrained due to the hostile attitude of the United States. In other words, it is assumed that this year, for the first time in five years, North Korea had originally planned to conduct nuclear and ICBM tests. Furthermore, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the situation can be said to have presented North Korea with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With Russia in full hostile mode with the U.S., even if North Korea were to conduct a nuclear or ICBM launch test, a Security Council resolution sanctioning North Korea would not pass due to the veto power of China and Russia (China is also at odds with the U.S. on the Taiwan Strait issue and other issues). This is an extremely favorable situation for North Korea, and North Korea will probably not miss this opportunity. In other words, North Korea will probably try to conduct all technically feasible nuclear and missile tests while it still can.

In fact, in March of this year, they launched several ICBMs. At that time, they dropped them into the Sea of Japan, but there is a good possibility that they will shift to tests in which they are dropped over the Japanese archipelago and into the Pacific Ocean.

Four “missile tests” envisioned for the future

So, what kind of missile tests will they conduct in the future before they conduct nuclear tests? The following is a list.

Mars 17

North Korea has already conducted a successful test launch in 2017 of the Mars-1-5, an ICBM with an estimated range of 12,000 km that can hit the East Coast of the United States. North Korea has already successfully test-launched the 12,000 km range Mars 1.5 ICBM, which has an estimated range of 12,000 km and can reach the east coast of the United States, in 2017, but has yet to successfully test-launch at full power the Mars 17, which is larger and is believed to be capable of carrying a heavier warhead. (It failed in March this year). Therefore, the company is expected to re-launch the Mars 17.

There is also a possibility that it will conduct a test with multiple warheads as a step toward a multiple-warhead system.

Arctic Star 5

Submarine-launched ballistic missile. It is larger than the “Polaris 3” with an estimated range of 2,000 km, which has already been tested in 2019, and is aimed at Guam with a range of 4,000 km. It is speculated that the submarine submarine may be aiming for a range of 4,000 km, which would be targeted at Guam. It has already appeared several times in military parades, but for some reason has not yet been tested.

In addition, Kim Jong-Un’s aforementioned plans for military buildup include the phrase “nuclear submarines and underwater-launched nuclear strategic weapons. Although this is a high hurdle to overcome, it is assumed that Kim Jong-un is conducting research and development for the realization of this goal, as long as he has made it public.

▪ Hypersonic Missile & Mars 8

North Korea is developing a leap-glide missile that flies in a low orbit in the atmosphere, which the current Aegis-mounted anti-aircraft missiles cannot handle, in order to evade missile defense by the Aegis and other missiles of Japan and the United States.

Short-range missiles for use against South Korea have been developed first, but a “hypersonic missile” (North Korea’s term) for use against Japan, equipped with a powerful “Mars-12” engine, was launched twice in January of this year and flew 1,000 km. The missile flew 1,000 km. Given the power of its onboard engine, it could fly over the Japanese archipelago if fired at full power.

In September 2021, a semi-intermediate-range glide missile called the “Mars 8,” which uses the engine of the “Mars 12” and a flat warhead for better glide, was also launched once. It was unsuccessful at that time. Although it failed at that time, it is an ambitious missile and may be subject to further launch tests in the future.

▪ New solid-fuel ballistic missiles?

One of Kim Jong-Un’s aforementioned plans for military buildup includes the phrase “underwater and surface solid rocket ICBMs.” North Korea has only ever displayed a replica of a Haribo ground-launched ICBM at military parades in the past, and has not yet developed a ground-launched missile with an estimated range of 2,000 km for use against Japan, the Polar Star However, it is not clear how seriously it intends to proceed, since it has never launched a solid-fuel ballistic missile with a range longer than that of the aforementioned “Polaris-2,” a ground-based missile with an estimated range of 4,000 km against Japan. However, there is a possibility that North Korea will develop a new, larger missile as a step toward a solid-fuel ICBM by applying the technology of the aforementioned “Arctic Star 5,” which has an estimated range of 4,000 kilometers.

North Korea may do all of the above in the future. Besides that, it is possible that it is still developing undisclosed new missile types, and there is a good chance that these will be tested.

Nevertheless, as mentioned above, what North Korea wants to do most is conduct nuclear tests. It has already completed the construction of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, and is believed to be ready to conduct a nuclear test at any time.

The missile launch, which attracted attention because it flew over Japan, is in fact only the beginning of a number of ambitious nuclear and missile tests that North Korea is expected to conduct in the future.

The Mars-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile at a military parade held at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, in October 2020.
  • Interview and text by Fumitaro Kuroi Photo Korean News Agency/Kyodo News Images

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