Shiron must seek a nuclear balance of fear |

North Korea’s offensive behavior towards South Korea is unusual. The frequency and level of threats of provocation are very threatening and clear. This year alone, there have already been more than 30 missile provocations. It fires multiple missiles at the same time from multiple areas, and the range is meaningless. There are also different types of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) such as Hwasong 17, medium-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), low-altitude, high-altitude, evasive, and hypersonic. The launch platform is also diversified into trains and reservoirs. In particular, after North Korea enacted the ‘Nuclear Force Policy Act’ in September, the provocation has turned into an offensive threat. Threats ranged from missile launches, armed protests from the air, and coastal artillery fire. On the 2nd, 25 missiles were fired four times, one of which was directed towards Ulleungdo. A supply warning was issued on Ulleungdo for the first time since the Korean invasion of South Korea on June 25, as it had in fact trespassed on its territory.

North Korea’s recent provocations have a different pattern than before. In previous years, they only used ‘horse bombs’, but this year they are ‘tit for tat’. I think it’s the ‘reckless confidence’ that comes from North Korea’s de facto tactical nuclear power and various nuclear methods. Another factor is the international environment where sanctions against North Korea are impossible due to the conflict between the West and China and Russia. The need to turn potential internal discontent caused by the worst economic crisis since Kim Jong-un took power to the outside also played a role. However, North Korean media is not reporting the missile launch. It is analyzed as intended to block internal complaints which ‘launch a missile = neglect people’s livelihood’.

The nuclear threat is a real threat, and signs of the 7th nuclear test are also being detected. Unlike China and Russia, the environment is not conducive to managing North Korea’s further provocations through the United Nations Security Council. In fact where the possibility of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons is zero, stopping the North Korean nuclear threat is the immediate task. It is significant that the United States-Korea Security Council (SCM) in Washington, DC on the 3rd reaffirmed the alliance’s commitment to deter North Korea. The defense ministers of the Republic of Korea and the United States agreed on ‘preparing a framework for preventing and responding to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats’, ‘exercises held annually for the implementation of extended deterrence measures’, and ‘to strengthen the nuclear umbrella and conduct annual nuclear response drills’. In fact, it is assessed that ‘NATO-style nuclear sharing’ is being realized as ‘Korean-style extended deterrence’. B-1B bombers are stationed on the Korean Peninsula for extended deterrence. This year, North Korea has organized a tactical nuclear operation unit and made the use of nuclear weapons clear. In this situation, ‘Korean-style extended deterrence’ alone is not sufficient. An effective way to ensure a nuclear balance of fear must be sought.

The vulnerability of South Korea’s security preparedness posture to deal with North Korean provocations has been exposed. In the process of responding to North Korea’s missile provocations, there were problems such as camel bombs and failure to track signals. It is dereliction of duty by the military due to lack of training and negligence in inspecting equipment. In the future, a strong military strategy must also be devised. And the preparations for the Ulleungdo air raid warning were very loose and easy. An air raid warning was issued, but the disaster evacuation text message was sent 24 minutes after the incident was over. Other regions do not look very different from Ulleungdo. This is because civil defense drills have been very formal events. In view of North Korea’s nuclear threat, civil defense exercises should also be converted into nuclear civil defense exercises, and the active participation of the people should be sought.

It can be seen that North Korea has accumulated a lot of economic fatigue in response to the South Korean-US joint exercise. North Korea may find its internal crisis through provocations on the Northern Limit Line (NLL) or the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the West Sea. South Korea, the United States, and Japan must work together to thoroughly prepare for provocations and look for ways to end the Kim Jong-un regime.

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