CNN in Seoul, South Korea
North Korean pioneer Kim Jong Un is requiring an “outstanding increment” in his country’s atomic weapons munititions stockpile because of what he guarantees are dangers from South Korea and the US, Pyongyang’s state media revealed Sunday.
According to a report from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim’s remarks come as North Korea tested what it claimed was a large, nuclear-capable, multiple-launch rocket system that could reach all of South Korea.
Kim said that South Korea has become an “undoubted enemy” and that its main ally, the United States, has increased pressure on the North to the “maximum” level over the past year by frequently deploying its military assets to the Korean Peninsula in a speech on New Year’s Eve, the final day of a six-day plenary session that reviewed 2022.
According to the KCNA report, Kim responded by saying that Pyonyang would need to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and mass produce tactical nuclear weapons in the coming year in order to provide the North with a “quick counterstrike capability.”
At the end of a year in which his regime tested more missiles than at any other time in North Korean history, including an ICBM that could theoretically strike the US mainland, Kim has made these remarks.
On Saturday, in its 37th day of rocket tests in 2022, North Korea terminated something like three short-range long range rockets from a site south of Pyongyang, as per South Korea’s Joint Heads of Staff.
A second test came that early on Sunday. According to North Korea, the 600-millimeter multiple-launch rocket (MRL) system was used in the tests on Saturday and Sunday. The majority of worldwide operational multiple-rocket launch systems are approximately 300 mm in size.
According to KCNA, Kim stated in his speech to the plenary session on Saturday that production of the 600mm MRL for deployment has increased since late October 2022. He added later that the military will receive thirty additional 600mm MRL at once.
According to the KCNA report, Kim stated that the weapon can overcome high landforms, can strike consecutively with precision, has full shooting range, and can be loaded with tactical nuclear warheads.
“Tentatively, as a vital hostile weapon of our tactical powers, it will do its own battle mission to overpower the foe,” Kim said.
Later, Kim’s remarks received a response from the Defense Ministry of South Korea, which described them as “provocative language that seriously harms the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.”
The ministry warned that the “Kim Jong Un regime will come to an end if North Korea attempts to use nuclear weapons” and urged Pyongyang to “immediately stop” developing nuclear weapons and return to denuclearization.
The ministry said it would keep its military readiness posture so that it could “firmly respond” to any threats from North Korea. It also said that the military would strengthen its “three-axis” defense system, which is designed to stop North Korea from using nuclear weapons and missiles.
The Kill Chain preemptive strike system, the Korea Air and Missile Defense system, and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation plan—an operational strategy to incapacitate the North Korean leadership during a major conflict—make up the three-axis defense system.
According to his office, President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea said on Sunday during a phone call with military chiefs that North Korea will continue to carry out constant nuclear and missile provocations and that South Korea’s military should respond clearly.
Expert: North Korea growing capacities
“Its new rocket dispatches were not in fact great. Instead, “the high volume of tests at unusual times and from a variety of locations demonstrate that North Korea could launch a variety of attacks at any time and from a variety of directions,” according to Easley.
Easley also said that North Korea is using more than just missiles to put more military pressure on the South. Five drones from Pyongyang entered South Korean airspace last week, prompting Seoul to mobilize fighter jets and helicopters to track them and then send its own drones into North Korean airspace.
Easley claims that everything contributes to an increase in tensions.
“These provocations, including drone incursions, appear excessive for deterrence and may be intended to frighten South Korea into adopting a more restrained policy. However, the Yoon administration “is likely to further increase South Korea’s defense capabilities and readiness” in light of Kim’s rejection of diplomacy and threat to mass produce nuclear weapons, according to Easley.
South Korea, on the other hand, is also beefing up its forces.
Last month, Seoul’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) made the announcement that it will spend more than $2.7 billion over the course of ten years to improve the mission capabilities and survivability of its fleet of F-15K fighter jets, which would be crucial in any potential strikes on North Korea.
Washington is also moving forward. The US military recently activated its first Space Force command on foreign soil in South Korea, and the unit’s new commander stated that he is prepared to face any threat in the region. In addition to deploying assets such as F-22 fighters and B-1 bombers to the exercises around the Korean Peninsula,
According to US Forces Korea, the brand-new unit “will be tasked with coordinating space operations and services like missile warning, position navigation and timing, and satellite communications within the region.”
Experts had noted the significant progress Pyongyang had made in its missile forces over the past year prior to Kim’s most recent remarks.
Midway through December, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace nuclear policy expert Ankit Panda told CNN that Pyongyang has become a missile power.
Panda stated, “The bigger picture is that North Korea is literally becoming a prominent operator of large-scale missile forces.” The majority of North Korean missile launches should no longer be referred to as tests.
The majority of the missiles they have fired this year are part of military drills. They are practicing for nuclear conflict. Furthermore, that, I think, is the 10,000 foot view this year,” Panda said.