Fourth missile of the year… Japan on alert! North Korea’s military level | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Fourth missile of the year… Japan on alert! North Korea’s military level

Even the Aegis Can't Shoot It Down. North Korea's Steadily Increasing Nuclear Capabilities: A Report by Sentaro Kuroi

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Today, January 17, just before 9 a.m., North Korea launched a “possible ballistic missile. According to the Japan Coast Guard, the missile is “believed to have already fallen,” but the agency is urging people to “continue to pay attention to information. This is the fourth launch in just 12 days since the beginning of the year. What does this mean? Military journalist Buntaro Kuroi analyzes.

This photo was released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 12. The photo shows Kim Jong-un watching a missile test conducted by the Academy of Defense Science. Photo: AFPPHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS

On January 15, North Korea released an image of a missile it had fired the day before.

The launch was fired from a point near the Chinese border in the western part of the country. The missile crossed the peninsula and landed on a small island off the east coast (a firing range). According to the Ministry of Defense, it has a maximum altitude of 50 km and a flying distance of more than 400 km. According to the South Korean military, it has a maximum altitude of 36 km and a flying distance of 430 km. The maximum speed is about Mach 6. From the published images, it seems to be a type of leapfrogging glide type short-range ballistic missile KN-23 that is launched from a train. This type was first launched in September 202 1, and North Korea had already declared its actual deployment.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, the launch was a ” censorship firing exercise to determine the actual combat capability of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment.

The purpose was stated as ” to check the combat readiness of the combatants of the Railway Mobile Missile Regiment and to enhance their ability to carry out firepower missions. In other words, an unannounced test was conducted on a new unit that had recently been deployed in the field.

Although the launch was a practical exercise, other missiles pose a much greater threat to Japan. In fact, North Korea has been repeatedly launching new types of missiles since the beginning of 2022.

First, on January 5, North Korea launched what it calls a “hypersonic missile” , and then on January 11, it launched the same missile. On January 11, the same missile was launched. Regarding the launch on January 11, which flew over a longer distance, the North Koreans said, “The flight distance is 1,000 km. After flying about 600 km , the missile leaped and glided to extend the distance, and also turned to the side for 240 km . If true, this means that the missile is a hypersonic glide missile that can surely hit the “western half” of Japan .

The Defense Ministry says that the missile has a maximum altitude of 50 km, a range of less than 700 km or more, and a maximum speed of about Mach 10.

With that kind of speed, the missile can reach Japan even if it leaps and glides at a low altitude. The booster used by the missile (a medium-range ballistic missile for attacking Guam, The booster (a slightly shortened version of the rocket used in Mars 12, the medium-range ballistic missile used to attack Guam) is estimated to have the power to reach not only “western Japan” but also “all of Japan.

As well as the range, the “maximum altitude of 50 km” is also a big problem. The SM-3 carried by the Aegis ships of the Self-Defense Forces is difficult to intercept unless it is at an altitude of 70 km or higher, which means that ” Aegis ships cannot shoot it down. Aegis ships cannot shoot them down. The only way to respond to this threat is to use PAC-3s deployed on land, but the PAC-3s have a small protective range, so most of Japan’s land is threatened. For Japan’s security, has become a serious situation.

The missile launch was neither a check on the US nor a provocation.

I would like to emphasize something here.

こうして繰り返されるこれらのミサイル発射について、 メディアではしばしば「米国を挑発するため」「 米国を牽制するため」「米国に振り向いてほしいから」「 to show off their presence. This is not just a recent story. Every time North Korea conducts a nuclear or missile test, for more than a decade now This is not only a recent story. Whenever North Korea tests a nuclear weapon or a missile, for more than ten years now, it has been talked about “normally” in the media. Therefore, even now, when we see such news, we think, ” North Korea is a weak country, but it is a nuisance that is raging because it wants to be taken advantage of by the U.S.” Some people may have the impression that ” North Korea is weak, but it is rampaging because it wants to be taken advantage of by the U.S.”

However, when you think about it, there are so many things that do not make sense.

For example, the launch on January 14, just before the U.S. imposed additional sanctions on North Korea. If the U.S. takes such a confrontational stance at any cost, we will have no choice but to react more forcefully and clearly” ( , Korean Central News Agency, early morning of January 14). ( ), it is possible that they acted on those words. However, as mentioned above , the North Koreans claimed that it was just an unannounced drill of actual combat troops , and did not mention that it was a retaliation against the US.

Besides, the strong statement that North Korea will show “a stronger and clearer response” does not match well with the launch of short-range missiles. Rather, the language declaring retaliation against the U.S. should be interpreted to mean that the entire military campaign, including the series of force enhancements that North Korea is continuing, and the upcoming missile launches to that end, should be called “retaliation. The statement declaring retaliation against the U.S. should rather be noted as a statement that justifies the entire military action, including the series of force buildup and missile launches that North Korea has been carrying out and will carry out in the future, as “the fault of the United States.

There is a view that the launch on the 14th was “aimed at deterring the US” . However, even if the launch was an execution of his words (* It should be noted that this is only one possibility), it was aimed at justifying the launch and not at making the US hesitate to impose sanctions. I don’t think ” checks and balances against the US”, which means applying pressure with the aim of making the US hesitate to strengthen sanctions, fits the reality either.

This is also true for the many missile launches before that. The objective fact is that the US will not move in North Korea’s favor just because North Korea launches a missile.

If the U.S. is afraid of North Korea’s missile launch, the U.S. may change its hostile attitude to prevent North Korea from launching any more missiles, and reduce the pressure. In reality, the US will not do that. In other words, is not a “check and balance” to deter the other side’s actions.

Of course, the U.S. will not respond with “Stop it, we’ll listen to your side of the story. Rather, it takes a tough stance against North Korea. Therefore, , , North Korea will not launch missiles hoping for a compromise from the US side.

Alternatively, if it deliberately wants to anger the US and induce a strong reaction, it would be a true “provocation”, but if the US really gets angry, it would be a negative for North Korea. Since the U.S. is far more powerful, it is overwhelmingly the North Koreans who will be at risk for their national survival if war breaks out. The North Koreans are the ones who will gain by provocation. North Korea has nothing to gain from provocation. In other words, it is not a provocation.

It’s not because they want the US to turn on them.

The “to get the US to turn its back” and “to make its presence felt” are based on two hypotheses:

One is that “North Korea wants the sanctions to be lifted. North Korea wants to drag the US into negotiations for that purpose. The other is that “North Korea wants the regime to be guaranteed. The other is “North Korea wants to drag the US into negotiations for this purpose because it wants the regime to be guaranteed.

It is true that North Korea would benefit from the lifting of sanctions and a regime guarantee, but this is not something that can be obtained in return for launching a missile. Rather, the opposite is true. Only when the North Koreans show a compromising attitude, such as by proposing denuclearization negotiations, will the U.S. soften its stance. If North Korea wants to lift sanctions and guarantee its regime, launching missiles will only have the opposite effect.

Moreover, lifting sanctions and guaranteeing the regime are not the most important issues for North Korea. There is no rationale for North Korea to risk provoking the US to do so.

For the Kim Jong-un dictatorship in North Korea, the most important thing for the survival of the regime is ” to have a realistic power to oppose the U.S.”, and that is “nuclear armament”. There is no other way but . Only nuclear armament can make the overwhelmingly powerful U.S. hesitate to use military force.

In comparison, the lifting of sanctions does not guarantee the survival of the regime, and verbal guarantees of the regime may not necessarily be effective in the future. North Korea’s nuclear armament is of course a threat to Japan’s security , but it is a rational decision for the survival of the Kim Jong-un regime.

Therefore, North Korea wants to strengthen its nuclear missile capability. However, it would not be good if repeated tests angered the US and led to war. This is because it is impossible to win one in ten thousand. Even if it doesn’t lead to a war, further tightening of sanctions should be avoided as much as possible.

If this is the case, North Korea would prefer to be left alone by the US as much as possible. If possible, North Korea would like the U.S. to ignore its efforts to strengthen its forces. In other words, North Korea would rather not be “turned away” from its nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea itself clearly denies it.

This is not the only objective situation. As important information to estimate North Korea’s intentions, there is also official information from North Korea itself. In the analytical work of inferring the intentions of the other side, it is important to analyze the “effect of the action” and the “expected value” based on it, as mentioned above, as well as to analyze their own “assertions. In the analysis of guessing the other party’s intentions, the aforementioned ” effect of the action” and the “expected value” based on it are analyzed.

Of course, claims include exaggeration, deception, and fiction, so claims do not necessarily represent reality. However, if we analyze the “intentions” of the other party through , it is certain that is the most important data as long as the contents of the claim do not contradict the behavior. In this regard, North Korea has always had a strong interest in the development of a “new” technology.

In this regard, North Korea always uses the state-run media to loudly disseminate claims that justify its actions. For example, when it comes to countering the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, it clearly states this in a strong tone of voice.

However, in some media reports, there are often statements such as ” North Korea’s true message is this. Why would North Korea, which officially announces its claims from time to time, use as its true message something that would not be conveyed unless a third party dared to look at it differently? There is no reason for North Korea, which publishes its own official statements from time to time, to take as its true message something that a third party would have to take a different view to understand.

For example, in addition to the latest launch, when North Korea takes some action, there is no reason to assume that the “movement of the U.S. and South Korea” at the time of the action will be the same as the “movement of the U.S. and South Korea” at the time of the action . For example, in addition to the latest launch, we often see discourse that discovers North Korea’s political agenda , but , in reality, North Korea has never said such a thing. In fact, there is an example of North Korea itself pointing this out. I have written an article about it on this site.

The real purpose of the “new missile launch” as told by his sister Kim Yo Jong (2 09/18/021) article/205532

This article cites a September 2021 statement by Kim Yo Jong, deputy head of the party, which read as follows.

“We will not aim at anyone as the South Koreans are now speculating, and choose a certain time to “provoke”, but rather we will develop defense science and weapons systems to carry out the decisions of our Party Congress. Instead of “provoking” someone at a certain time, it is carrying out normal and self-defensive activities to carry out the key tasks of the first year of the Five-Year Plan for the development of defense science and weapon systems to implement the decisions of the Party Congress.

As mentioned above, in a situation where North Korea has no merit in provocation or checking, but only demerit, and North Korea itself does not even claim it, how can North Korea’s “true message” be understood? How can we say that there is a “true message” when North Korea itself does not even claim it? There is little rational basis for this.

Discovery analysis has its roots in “brinkmanship diplomacy.

In fact, this view that North Korea’s missile launch has a ulterior political agenda has long been held by the South Korean government, media and experts.

Since South Korea is a country of the same ethnicity as North Korea and is on the front line against North Korea, it is generally believed that South Korea has in-depth analysis of North Korea.

This is of course true, but on the other hand, the analysis of North Korea coming out of South Korea often contains wishful thinking, though of course not all of it. For example, one such example is the “diplomatic card theory” and “brinkmanship diplomacy theory” from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s during the Kim Jong-il regime. .

During that period, when suspicions of North Korea’s nuclear development were raised and strong pressure was applied from the international community, North Korea ostensibly stopped its development at the last minute and then, in return, began to pursue economic development. In return, it received economic aid. However, this did not stop North Korea from developing nuclear weapons, and it secretly planned to do so. The U.S. detected it again, and under pressure from the international community, North Korea again stopped its nuclear development in exchange for economic aid, and so on. This is the way of the Kim Jong-il regime.

Seeing the Kim Jong-il regime’s approach, the view that ” North Korea does not really want to develop nuclear weapons, but economic benefit is the real goal” was widely discussed. The nuclear development is just a diplomatic card. North Korea is engaging in brinkmanship for money.

The Fear that North Korea is Seriously Developing Nuclear Weapons

In reality, however, North Korea is serious about its nuclear development and conducted its first successful nuclear test in 2006. In other words, the “diplomatic card theory” and ” brinkmanship diplomacy theory” were wrong.

However, such analytical errors were not paid much attention to, and opinions that downplayed North Korea’s seriousness about strengthening its nuclear arms continued to persist in South Korea. North Korea’s nuclear and missile launches “to provoke the U.S.,” ” to check the U.S.,” “because they want the U.S. to turn around,” and The analysis of North Korea’s nuclear and missile launches as “to provoke the U.S.,” “to check the U.S.,” “because it wants the U.S. to turn its back on it,” and “to promote its presence” is an extension of the discovery without clear grounds.

North Korea is not, as Kim Yo Jong’s aforementioned statement states, “choosing a certain time to ” provoke””, but rather ” Rather, it should be seen as simply and solemnly proceeding with development and testing in order to “carry out the key tasks of the five-year plan for the scientific development of national defense and the development of weapon systems to carry out the decisions of the Party Congress. In other words, his country is not a

In other words, his country is strengthening its forces in a very rational way, not through political games and speculations of the moment, but through “nuclear missile development” and North Korea has been strengthening its forces in a very rational manner, developing nuclear missiles and conducting ” realistic training. North Korea will continue to launch missiles in rapid succession. We will have to keep a close eye on Kim Jong-un’s movements.

  • Reporting and writing by Fumitaro Kuroi

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