North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea on the 25th. Over a month has passed since the launch of a cruise missile last month. It is interpreted as an armed demonstration against the arrival of a nuclear aircraft carrier, one of the strategic assets of the United States, to South Korea to conduct joint South Korean-US naval exercises. The government held an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by Kim Seong-han, head of the National Security Bureau. The government is closely monitoring the possibility of additional provocations, such as the launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which has caught the trend of preparations in North Korea.
According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military authorities found that North Korea had fired a short-range ballistic missile into the East Sea from the Taecheon area of North Pyongan Province at around 6:53 am on the same day. It is the first time North Korea has launched a ballistic missile in 113 days, and the missile launch is the first in 39 days since it launched two cruise missiles last month. This is the fifth missile launch since the Yun Seok-yeol government was established.
The short-range ballistic missile launched today had a flight range of 600 km, an altitude of 60 km, and a speed of about Mach 5. It is assumed that the launch took place on a vehicle-like mobile launcher (TEL). He has been known to do an evasive move in the final leg and show a ‘pull up’ move in some sections.
In terms of specifications, this short-range ballistic missile is similar to the KN-23, known as the ‘North Korean version of Iskander’. It is reported that the military authorities are also analyzing the North Korean version of Iskander. South Korean and US intelligence agencies are closely analyzing detailed specifications.
A military official explained, “Given North Korea’s general activity in recent years, it would be more appropriate to see it as a test launch or a weapons development process that takes place over a long time frame as part of strengthening the national defense power. ordered by Kim Jong-un.” There is a uranium purification facility and a 200MW nuclear power plant in Taecheon, North Pyongan Province, where the launch site is located. The possibility of nuclear-related activities during this launch was raised, but we the military authorities attached little importance to the launch site.
North Korea’s recent short-range ballistic missile launch is being interpreted as an armed display aware of the use of US strategic assets on the Korean Peninsula. The US carrier strike group, which includes the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), the guided-missile cruiser Chancellorville (CG 62), and the destroyer Aegis Barry (DDG 52), arrived at the Busan Operating Base on the 23rd.. The US Carrier Strike Team will conduct joint naval exercises with the South Korean navy in the East Sea from the 26th to the 29th. However, it is reported that the missile launched today is not capable of reaching sea targets such as aircraft carriers as surface-to-ground ballistic missiles.
Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said, “The intention is to pave the way for the launch of the SLBM and the 7th nuclear test by exploring ROK-US extended deterrence capabilities, including the use of US nuclear aircraft Carriers States on the Korean Peninsula.” Park Won-gon, professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University, said, “Since the KN-23 is a deployed missile, it appears to be a launch with a tactical target. This is the first visit of a US aircraft carrier to Korea in four years since an international naval inspection ceremony held in Jeju in October 2018, and the first visit to Korea for training purposes in five years since October 2017.
The possibility is raised that North Korea, which has intensified the strong-to-power conflict with South Korea and the United States, will make additional provocations during the joint naval exercise. Earlier, the military authorities were said to have caught the trend of preparations for SLBM launches in the Sinpo area of South Hamgyong Province. President Yun Seok-yeol presided over the National Security Situation Review Meeting inside Air Force Unit 1 returning from a tour of the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, and noted the signs and dynamics of North Korea’s provocations, including SLBMs , the presidential office said the other day.
The presidential office held an emergency meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by Kim Seong-han, head of the National Security Bureau, to discuss countermeasures after the detection of a short-range ballistic missile launch from North Korea on the same day.
The NSC Standing Committee condemned the ballistic missile launch, calling it a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a provocative act that increases tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the region. In particular, the presidential office reported that North Korea launched its first ballistic missile since the announcement of the enactment of a nuclear power policy that declared the preemptive use of nuclear weapons on the 8th, and decided to respond actively based on cooperation with the United. States and its allies.
The Office of the President said, “Participants of the meeting reaffirmed their strong will to neutralize any form of missile provocation by North Korea and strengthen their combined defense capabilities through the ROK-US joint naval exercise to be held on the 26th and 29th with the United States. ‘ Ronald Reagan’s Carrier Strike Team I decided to leave,” he said.
Kim Seung-gyeom, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shared the situation via video conference with US-ROK Joint Forces Chief Paul Lacamera immediately after the missile launch on the same day and reaffirmed the strong ROK-US joint defense posture, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.