‘2021 North Korean Military Force’ Report by the Defense Intelligence Agency under the Ministry of National Defense
US intelligence officials predict that North Korea may resume testing of long-range ballistic missiles next year. In some cases, it is even possible to try an underground nuclear test. It seems that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made clear his policy to strengthen nuclear and missile development in January, and it seems to reflect the US government’s wary of North Korea’s recent launch of new missiles one after another.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under the U.S. Department of Defense said in a report titled “North Korea’s Military Force in 2021” published on the 15th (local time), “North Korean leaders view nuclear weapons as essential to the survival of the regime.” “North Korea will launch long-range ballistic missiles next year. There is a possibility that the experiment will resume.” “North Korea maintains its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities, and it is unlikely that it will give up all of its inventory,” he said.
The DIA predicted that if North Korea agrees to complete denuclearization, including the dismantlement of its weapons delivery system, and does not fully implement it, it is highly likely that North Korea will grow and make progress in all areas of the military. North Korea’s military field was analyzed by dividing it into △ground-based ballistic missiles, △submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), △nuclear weapons, △long-range artillery, △special operations forces, △unmanned aerial vehicles, and △cyber capabilities.
Regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons, the DIA pointed out that “North Korea’s ultimate goal is to integrate nuclear weapons with ballistic missiles and ensure that nuclear-armed missiles can function stably as a system.” “If North Korea rebuilds or builds a nuclear test site, additional underground nuclear tests to verify its weapons capabilities will be possible,” he predicted. The report also states that although North Korea has not conducted any nuclear tests since 2017 and has irreversibly dismantled part of the WMD facility, the United States has continued to observe activities inconsistent with complete denuclearization at facilities including the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
North Korea will try to improve newer solid-fuel-propelled ballistic missiles, the report predicts, and may see long-range missile tests next year. DIA said, “North Korea said it would stop firing missiles during talks with the United States in 2018, but starting in May 2019, it has launched a number of new solid fuel-propelled short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs). Even without further flight tests of the long missile system, North Korea will focus on improving and training its missile capabilities, which are increasingly important to its deterrence strategy.” However, DIA added that “SLBM capabilities are likely to grow slowly, as building and deploying new submarines requires long and resource-intensive manufacturing procedures.”
Jinwook Kim reporter email@example.com
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