Resumption of Nuclear and ICBM Tests. The meaning of Kim Jong-un’s threatened “action. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Resumption of Nuclear and ICBM Tests. The meaning of Kim Jong-un’s threatened “action.

This is not "diplomacy on the brink. The situation in North Korea is becoming increasingly tense ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

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North Korea is “serious. The Japanese press has been too lax in its analysis of the missile launches since the beginning of the year. This is not a “check on the U.S.” but a clear warning to resume nuclear and ICBM tests. This is an urgent report by military journalist Buntaro Kuroi.

This is not “diplomacy on the brink. What is the “frightening determination” that Kim Jong-un has loudly proclaimed? The string of missile launches is not a “mere check and balance” Photo: AFP/Afro

What is the “actual action” declared in high spirits?

On January 20, the Korean Central News Agency reported on a meeting of the Party Political Bureau held the day before. According to the report, Kim Jong-un ordered the consideration of the resumption of ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) launches and nuclear tests, which he had long refrained from doing.

Here’s how the article describes it. The article begins by condemning the U.S. for its hostile stance over the years.

After condemning the hostile attitude of the U.S. for years, it went on to say, “We assess that the hostile policy and military threat of the U.S. have reached a danger line that cannot be overlooked any longer, and we must prepare more thoroughly for a long-term confrontation with U.S. imperialism.

We have concluded that we must move to actual action to consolidate our physical power more reliably and securely.”

This is clearly not a fluffy “check and balance aimed at getting the U.S. to refrain from a hostile posture,” but an argument to justify their “actual action” by pretending that it is the U.S. that is at fault. It is almost an announcement that they have “concluded that actual action should be taken,” meaning that they have decided to “do it.

As for the substance of the “actual action,” it says

“We have given instructions to the departments concerned to reconsider the confidence-building measures we have taken proactively and proactively, and to consider promptly the question of restarting all activities that have been suspended provisionally.

He said.

Although not specifically stated, the provisionally suspended activities refer to the “freeze on ICBM launch tests and nuclear tests” announced by North Korea prior to the June 2018 US-North Korea summit. That’s tantamount to saying it intends to resume testing.

There are many missiles that they “want to fire.

So, what does North Korea plan to do in the future? Here’s a list of what we can expect. First, missiles. Of course, North Korea will continue to launch short-range missiles as it has done in the past, but it will also launch longer-range missiles, which it has been holding off on.

One of the most noteworthy missiles is a very large ICBM that has already been unveiled but has not yet been tested. This is the Mars 17. North Korea has already achieved a range capable of targeting the entire United States with the Mars 15 launched in November 2017, but the Mars 17, which is one step larger than the Mars 15, can probably fly a heavier warhead.

At its party congress in January 2021, North Korea declared its intention to develop a “multi-warhead” missile, which would carry multiple individually guided nuclear warheads on a single missile. It is possible that the next Mars 17 launch will be a test with multiple warheads. Also, Mars 15 has only been launched once, so they would want to re-launch it for further technical improvements.

In addition, there is a submarine-launched medium-range ballistic missile, the Polaris 5, which has already been unveiled but has not yet been launched. This missile can be fired on a high trajectory and dropped into the Sea of Japan, but if it were to be tested on a trajectory that would take it over the Japanese archipelago, a strong reaction from Japan and the United States would be expected. But if it were to test a missile in a trajectory that would fly over the Japanese archipelago, a strong reaction from Japan and the United States would be expected. Although it has not said that it will “suspend” missile launch tests that fly over the Japanese archipelago, it has actually refrained from doing so since September 2017.

If it were to shoot over the Japanese archipelago, North Korea would also want to shoot the hypersonic glide missiles it launched in succession this past January 5 and 11.

This missile flies in a low trajectory like a liner ball, rather than a high mountainous trajectory, to avoid interception by the Aegis ships of the U.S. military and the Self-Defense Forces. In the launch on January 11, the missile flew about 1,000 kilometers and landed in the waters between Hokkaido and Russia, but if it were fired at full power, it would likely have a longer range.

A missile passing over Japan

However, if the missiles were to fly longer than that, they would have to fly over Japan or South Korea if they wanted to avoid the skies over Russia and China. Looking at past examples, it is likely that the missile will fly a course across the Tsugaru Strait, where the largest percentage of missiles fly over the sea.

However, it is still unclear whether this new missile has demonstrated enough technology to travel more than 1,000 km, and there is no danger that it will fall on the way. The North Koreans would have to be very careful about dropping the missile on the land of another country, Japan, as it would be a serious blunder.

North Korea has also declared in its January 2021 party congress report that it will develop solid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missiles and ICBMs. This is a new technological development, and its progress is completely unclear, but if it goes ahead, it will conduct launch tests.

Although not a missile, the same party report also declared the development of a reconnaissance satellite. The launch of such a satellite would constitute a “launch using ballistic missile technology,” which is prohibited by a UN Security Council resolution, but North Korea stopped launching satellites in February 2016, the last time it repeatedly did so.

And it is eager for a nuclear test.

More than these missile launches, North Korea wants to do something else. A nuclear test.

Their last nuclear test was in September 2017, and it has been more than four years since then. What North Korea is consistently working on is to improve the performance of its nuclear missiles. Smaller and lighter nuclear bombs for the same missile would extend its range. North Korea wants to put miniaturized nuclear weapons on short-range missiles, which have smaller payloads of warheads. North Korea has also declared that it will convert long-range cruise missiles with smaller payloads into nuclear missiles . In other words, miniaturization of detonators is an extremely important technology, and there is no doubt that they have made various improvements in the past four years.

In addition, they must have made considerable progress in technological development to enhance the power per shot. North Korea will eventually carry out a detonation test to demonstrate this. In fact, the nuclear test site has not been closed in preparation for that day.

However, a nuclear test is a serious violation of Security Council resolutions, far more serious than the aforementioned missile launch tests, and China and Russia cannot protect North Korea. There is no doubt that North Korea is considering the timing of the test very seriously.

During the Beijing Olympics, North Korea may refrain from major actions, including ICBM launches and launches over Japan, out of concern for China. But far more important than such light talk of discovery for China is the danger that the US will be busy with other issues and that China and Russia will give top priority to anti-Americanism. In other words, North Korea’s best chance will come “when Russia or China violently confronts the United States over Ukraine or Taiwan. .

Currently, the confrontation between China, Russia and the United States is becoming more and more acute. We should not forget that this trend is directly linked to the dangerous developments in North Korea.

  • Interviewed and written by Fumitaro Kuroi Photo AFP/Afro

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