North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) on Thursday for the first time since the inauguration of the Biden administration and in a year since its last, putting pressure on the Biden administration, which is in the final stage of examining the country’s existing North Korea policies to adopt a new strategy. The Biden administration is expected to announce new North Korea policies next month. A trilateral security meeting among South Korea, the U.S., and Japan is scheduled for next week in Washington, D.C. to discuss the review results of North Korea policies. On Sunday, four days after launching cruise missiles, which are not against the UN Security Council’s North Korea sanctions, the North raised the threat level with a relay launch of SRBMs in violation of the sanctions. Some believe that North Korea may raise the level of provocations to put more pressure on the U.S. to change its policies hostile to the North.
Citing a U.S. high-ranking official, Fox News reported a potential test launch of Pukkuksong-4 and Pukkuksong-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which were revealed at the North’s military parade last year and this year, respectively. However, the military believes the probability is low. “It is hard to specify, but they were propelled from the ground. It must be decided based on flight altitudes,” said a member of the military regarding whether the missiles were SLBMs. The recently launched missiles are quite different from the typical flight trajectory of SLBMs, which are launched from a submarine or underwater launchpad of a barge and soar hundreds of kilometers.
Some suspect that they were the upgraded models of North Korean Iskander, which was first revealed at the military parade of the eighth Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea in January. They could have been the test launch of Iskander improved to carry a hypersonic smooth-bore weapon or tactical nuclear weapon. In addition, the probability of performance tests of multiple rocket launcher KN-25 – which was revealed to have been mounted on a transporter erector launcher in various forms, such as 5·6 extension, at the military parade last October – or a different new weapon cannot be ignored.
Sang-Ho Yun firstname.lastname@example.org