The North Koreaclaiming to implement a satellite program, has developed ” monster missile It could try it in April, which will change the balance of power in the region and test the resilience of the new South Korean president, analysts expect.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last year that improving the country’s military capabilities was a priority for the regime. Since January, Pyongyang has conducted nine missile tests, a record in such a short time.
intercontinental ballistic missile
Main priority: development intercontinental ballistic missile The ICBM is capable of carrying multiple conventional or nuclear warheads, each following an independent trajectory, which is difficult to intercept by US anti-missile systems.
Military analysts have dubbed this missile, the Hwasong-17, the “monstrous missile.” It was shown at a parade in Pyongyang in October 2020 and was never tested.
But the US and South Korea accuse the North Korean regime of testing parts of it recently, under the guise of what were presented as satellite launch tests.
North Korea has adhered to a moratorium on all ICBM launches since 2017. But international sanctions, imposed in response to its missile and nuclear weapons program, continue to weigh on its economy, negotiations have stalled and many experts predict an imminent coup.
“I think the moratorium is over. We should expect the ICBM testing to resume,” said Ankit Panda, a security analyst in the US. United State.
He explained that two missile tests, on February 27 and March 5, “appear to have used parts, or perhaps all of the rocket engine seen in the Hwasong-17 ICBM.”
“Day of the Sun”
This expert also does not exclude the possibility that these two tests are also associated with a device that allows “to carry several heads in order to hit different targets with the same missile.”
So far, North Korea has yet to prove that it has mastered this technology, even if it launched three times in 2017 ICBMs capable of reaching the West Coast of the United States.
Most analysts predict that the date chosen for the launch of the “monstrous missile” will be April 15, the “Day of the Sun”, which coincides with the anniversary (110 years this year) of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung. It is the most important date in the North Korean political calendar. This potential test will come at a precise time in the area, when you are in South Korea Governor Yoon Seok-yeol has just been elected president and will succeed Moon Jae-in in May, in favor of a thaw with the North.
Yoon Seok Yeol supports firmness toward Pyongyang. qualified Kim Jong-un He was a “rude boy” and promised to “teach him some manners”. He did not rule out a preemptive strike against the North.
Such intransigence risks escalation, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies. It is likely that new sanctions will be adopted after the test of the super-missile, “to which Pyongyang will respond with more weapons tests,” he expects.
“At the end of the day, tensions on the Korean peninsula are likely to escalate further,” Yang Moo-Jin warns.
Marking a hiatus from nearly five years of ICBM testing, Pyongyang has sought to make room for diplomacy and avoid further sanctions, but it hasn’t stopped working on missile diversification, says Leif Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul. Ultimately, he adds, “to ensure their accuracy and atmospheric penetration capabilities, these weapons must be tested.”
Washington accused North Korea prepared for this launch, “potentially disguised as a space operation” and denounced the “dangerous escalation.” On Thursday, Kim Jong-un visited a satellite testing center in North Korea and called for it to be modernized and expanded, according to state media.
Some analysts consider the reactions of the United States and South Korea to be excessive, and state that Pyongyang has the right to develop a space program, even if civilian missiles have many characteristics in common with ICBMs. “If you are forbidden to have a kitchen knife only because there is a risk that you will use it to kill someone, what will you do in your kitchen when you have to cook? Asks Cheong Seong-Chang, a North Korea specialist at the Sejong Institute.
“Unapologetic pop culture trailblazer. Freelance troublemaker. Food guru. Alcohol fanatic. Gamer. Explorer. Thinker.”