Kim Jong-Un’s Final Plan to Conduct a Nuclear Test…Two Reasons Why the World Was Blinded by the North Korean Military Parade | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kim Jong-Un’s Final Plan to Conduct a Nuclear Test…Two Reasons Why the World Was Blinded by the North Korean Military Parade

Report by military journalist Fumitaro Kuroi

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The development of a new missile paves the way for a nuclear test. What is the “scenario of terror” that North Korea is plotting?

On the evening of February 8, North Korea held a military parade to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of its military. The parade revealed two major military highlights.

The first was the appearance of at least 10 of the large ICBM “Mars 17,” which was successfully test-launched in November 2022.

What this means is that there are at least “10” huge “self-propelled launchers (TELs)” with as many as 11 axes and 22 wheels that can carry this missile. It is technically quite difficult to build these super-sized TELs. However, there are indications that North Korea has now acquired its own mass production capability. If this is the case, North Korea will be able to further increase its production and have a large number of TELs in the near future.

This alone would indicate that the North Korean threat has “considerably increased. If a large number of ICBMs are launched simultaneously using these TELs, it will be difficult for even the U.S. military to intercept them. This would further strengthen North Korea’s ability to launch nuclear strikes against the United States.

Significantly shortened preparation for launch

Another point that is attracting attention is the existence of a new type of ICBM that has been completely unknown until now. It was unveiled for the first time at this year’s parade.

This new missile is believed to be a three-stage solid-fuel ICBM, judging from its size. The launcher (TEL) is a 9-axis, 18-wheel one, which is equivalent in size to the TEL of the Mars 15 ICBM, which is smaller than the Mars 17.

In principle, when liquid-fueled missiles such as the Mars 17 and Mars 15 are used in actual warfare, they are taken out of underground facilities, moved to the launch site, and then fueled and fired after the missile body is upright. This is because liquid fuel is corrosive, and there are concerns that strong vibrations after injection may cause malfunctions.

The fuel injection process takes several tens of minutes. It cannot be launched suddenly. On the other hand, the solid fuel type is pre-fueled and can be launched immediately. In a real-world scenario, when an ICBM is about to be launched, the entire North Korean territory would be under intense bombardment by U.S. and South Korean forces. In such a situation, the solid-fuel type, which can be launched immediately, would be much more effective because of the lower risk of detection and destruction. For this reason, the development and commercialization of a solid-fuel ICBM is a long-held dream for North Korea.

In the past, North Korea has introduced a “Haribo

In fact, North Korea once in the past has displayed a solid-fuel ICBM at a military parade in April 2017. However, no solid-fuel ICBMs appeared for a long time after that. This is unusual for North Korea, but it is likely that the ICBM at that time was a “halibut,” so to speak, that was far from complete.

In January 2021, Kim Jong-Un officially announced his five-year national defense plan, which lists a number of measures to strengthen North Korea’s nuclear capability against the U.S. The plan also includes a plan to develop a solid-fuel ICBM, which would be extremely powerful against the U.S. The development of solid-fuel ICBMs was also listed in the plan. Kim Jong-Un’s own words would not have been written as a dream without any concrete plans.

Arrangements are in place for a nuclear test.

If this were to happen, North Korea would immediately conduct a launch test in the near future as soon as the technology is completed. This is because new technologies can be put to practical use only after they have been demonstrated. If the launch test of this solid-fuel ICBM is successful, the next step will be to conduct a nuclear test.

A nuclear test is subject to far stronger condemnation from the international community than a ballistic missile launch. Therefore, in order to avoid criticism from the international community, North Korea needs to use the threat from the U.S. as an excuse to raise the level of its missile tests, and then conduct a nuclear test as the final step. The final plan is only a nuclear test, and it is North Korea’s usual practice to proceed with the missile launches it wants to do before the nuclear test (note: only in 2017, North Korea conducted an ICBM launch after the nuclear test).

The largest known North Korean ICBM is the Mars 17, and in November 2022, it conducted its first successful launch test. The U.S. strongly criticized North Korea at that time as well. But North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test at that time under the pretext of a hostile U.S. posture. The reason for this was unclear. If the plan was to wait until the launch test of this new solid-fuel ICBM and then conduct a nuclear test, it would make sense.

The last nuclear test by North Korea was in September 2017, more than five years later. North Korea has publicly stated that it has already converted a force of short-range missiles with relatively small warheads into a nuclear missile force for use against South Korea and U.S. forces in South Korea. For this to happen, demonstration tests of miniaturized nuclear detonators are essential.

Furthermore, if such miniaturization technology can be demonstrated, it will pave the way for a “multi-warhead Mars 17” against the United States. North Korea’s plan for this year is probably to first hasten the completion of this solid-fuel ICBM, conduct a launch test, and finally conduct a nuclear test.

The Accelerating North Korean Threat

There is no stopping North Korea’s strengthening of its nuclear missile capability. The number of nuclear bombs itself will be greatly increased. As the Russian military continues its invasion of Ukraine and attention in East Asia is focused on the danger of a Chinese military invasion of Taiwan, we must not forget that the North Korean threat is now increasing at an accelerating pace.

  • Reporting and writing by Buntaro Kuroi

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