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On September 11 and 12, North Korea’s newly developed long-range cruise missile “tested with complete success.” This is not the first time a cruise missile has been tested, nor is it the last.
On June 9, 2017, the headline of the “Rodong Sinmun” reported that a number of new surface-to-ship cruise missiles were tested in the eastern waters of Wonsan, Gangwon Province, successfully hitting a target ship 200 kilometers away. This was the first test shot by North Korea, and Kim Jong-un observed it on the spot.
On April 14, 2020, North Korea launched multiple short-range cruise missiles from Muncheon City, Gangwon Province to the eastern waters. On March 21, 2021, North Korea launched two more short-range cruise missiles into the western waters. This is the first test firing since the Biden administration took office.
Technological progress cannot be said to be “epoch-making”
The newly appointed member of the Politburo Standing Committee, military secretary of the Central Secretariat, and former chief of the general staff, Park Zhengtian, on behalf of Kim Jong-un, observed the long-range cruise missile test on the spot and praised it as “an epoch-making achievement.” It is too high. Compared with the original technology of North Korea, it is definitely a breakthrough and solved the problem of existence. However, compared with the United States, Russia, and China, the technology content is obviously low.
According to the draft issued by the Korean Central News Agency on September 13, there are seven main points involved in the technical part. First, “the newly developed turbo-blower engine.” It is uncertain whether it is the turbojet engine or the turbofan engine used in the American Tomahawk cruise missile. Turbine-engine missile speeds are lower than Mach 3. The excitement of the American, Russian, and Chinese wrestling has long been locked in hypersonic missiles, and more advanced ramjets and rocket engines have been successfully developed.
Second, the terminal guidance “utilizes the combined method of combined guidance.” This is of course a military secret and will not go into details. Prior to the North Korean military parade, the missile has demonstrated infrared guidance + digital image guidance. It is unknown whether radar guidance is superimposed. It will not rely solely on civilian GPS guidance. When there is a war, the United States will turn off the enemy’s GPS signal.
Third, the missile flies for 7,580 seconds, accurately striking a target of 1,500 kilometers. Equivalent to 2 hours, 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the speed is about 700 km/h, which is less than Mach 0.6, which is lower than Mach 0.72 of the American Tomahawk cruise missile. Not to mention that the United States and Russia have successfully developed hypersonic cruise missiles greater than Mach 5 .
Fourth, point out the development time as “the past two years”. This is not the research deployed this year, but the result of the project initiated and invested two years ago.
Fifth, the range is not less than 1500 kilometers. The range is similar to that of the South Korean Xuanwu-3C cruise missile, which can cover the entire territory of South Korea, Tokyo, Japan and most of the country.
Sixth, confirm that it is a strategic weapon. “Complete the strategic weapons of great significance among the key objectives of the five-year plan for national defense scientific development and weapon system development proposed by the Eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of China,” and “be more determined to ensure national security.” Since it is a strategic weapon, it implies that it can carry a nuclear warhead.
Seventh, it can’t hit the aircraft carrier. The speed is slow and the warhead is light. With North Korea’s existing guidance and positioning technology, it is difficult to break through the heavy defenses of US aircraft carriers. It is mainly used to deter Japan and South Korea. It is expected to deter Guam in the future. The Mars series of land-based missiles and the Polaris series of sea-based missiles that North Korea has developed can also achieve containment. Is it necessary to invest heavily in rushing for success?
All parties responded by expressing restraint
On September 12, local time, the US Indo-Pacific Command stated that North Korea’s missile test “posed a threat to neighboring countries and the international community” and that “the United States’ commitment to defending South Korea and Japan is rock solid.” The subtext believes that North Korea’s current missile strength is sufficient to threaten South Korea and Japan. It is difficult to threaten Guam, and it is even more difficult to threaten Hawaii and the United States.
On September 13, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu responded, “This is an act that threatens the peace and security of Japan’s surrounding areas.” On the same day, South Korea and Australia held the fifth “2+2” meeting between the foreign ministers and defense ministers in Seoul. Zheng Yirong responded, “South Korea and the United States are analyzing in detail the North Korean test-launched intentions and the missile parameters” and judged that North Korea “restarted nuclear activities” (press: within the scope of the Security Council sanctions resolution), “This shows the urgent need for dialogue, contact and diplomacy with the North. sex”. Australian Foreign Minister Payne reiterated that “Before North Korea adopts complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization measures, it will be committed to implementing the UN Security Council and its own country’s sanctions against North Korea.”
On September 13, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed a moderate stance, “calling on the parties concerned to exercise restraint, meet each other halfway, actively engage in dialogue and contact, and continue to advance the process of political settlement of the Peninsula issue in accordance with the dual-track approach and the principle of phased synchronization.”
Six months ago, the United States and North Korea reacted fiercely around the missile test, tit-for-tat, high-level, strong smell of gunpowder, which is not the same as this time.
On March 25, North Korea successfully test-fired two new tactical guided missiles with a head weight of 2.5 tons. They accurately ordered the target in the waters of 600 kilometers in the Middle East. They were obviously surface-to-ship missiles. The U.S. and South Korean military judged it to be a ballistic missile, and the KCNA bulletin also clearly hinted. Biden quickly criticized the move as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, warning that if North Korea escalated tensions, it would take corresponding measures.
On March 26, Li Bingzhe, then member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Labor Party and military secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee, made a quick statement, defending “the national defense forces of a sovereign country to strengthen self-defense operations” and refuted “only the United States is allowed to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the war against North Korea is not allowed. Test firing of tactical weapons is purely the logic of robbers.”
On March 26, when Moon Jae-in delivered a speech on the “Maintenance of the West Sea Day Commemoration”, he gently responded “deeply worried” and “should not do anything that would disrupt the atmosphere of dialogue.” On the 30th, Kim Yo-jung, deputy minister of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Labor Party, scolded Moon Jae-in’s remarks as “the peak of absurdity and brazenness.”
On March 26, at an emergency private consultation meeting of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea, the United States accused North Korea of ”violating UN resolutions” and advocated “strengthening the implementation of sanctions” and “applying follow-up sanctions.” In the end, the resolution 2569 adopted by the Security Council on the same day was revisited, such as continuing to extend the mandate of the expert group for one year. North Korea is still not satisfied. Zhao Zhezhu, director of the International Organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded on the 28th, “strongly condemn the UN Security Council’s double standards and extreme prejudice in conducting meetings and investigations against North Korea.”
Timing, intensity and intention of the test firing
Although Kim Jong-un is young, has a family background, has a good understanding, and has both strategic and tactical qualities. This test fire is meticulously planned to achieve multiple goals in one fell swoop, while meeting domestic and international goals, short-term and long-term goals, and political and military goals.
In terms of timing, there are four. First, respond to the two regular military exercises between the United States and South Korea in August. On August 1st, 10th, and 11th, Kim Yu-jung twice and United Front Minister Kim Young-cheol made a speech, unanimously condemning the military exercises between the United States and South Korea, warning “what serious security crisis will be faced”, “we have been constantly The development of national defense forces is a truly legitimate measure.” It is common sense that the United States and South Korea have no room for concessions on the issue of “US troops stationing in South Korea.” Kim Yu-jung’s conversation on August 10 also stated that “the United States must first withdraw its aggressive forces and war equipment deployed in South Korea”. .
Second, to disarm the tripartite talks between the United States, South Korea and Japan. On September 13, the Korean Foreign Ministry’s representative to the DPRK, Lu Guidi, met in Tokyo with the Director of the Asian and Oceanian Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenhiro Funakoshi.
Third, keep China and South Korea from getting too close. On September 15, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited South Korea and met with South Korean Foreign Minister Zheng Yirong. The topics disclosed by the South Korean side include the “Peace Process on the Korean Peninsula”, “Chinese President’s Visit to South Korea”, etc.; Wang Yi will call on President Moon Jae-in and invite him to visit China in the Beijing Winter Olympics in February next year.
Fourth, keep China and the United States from getting too close. On September 10, Biden had a phone call with the Chinese head of state for the second time, lasting about 90 minutes. The Xinhua News Agency’s bulletin was positioned as “strategic communication” and the tone was “frank, in-depth, and extensive.” Although the draft focuses on climate change exchanges, if the two sides do not discuss the issue of nuclear non-proliferation (including the North Korean nuclear and the Iranian nuclear), there will be no “in-depth and extensive” discussion.
In terms of strength, there are four, and Kim Jong-un has a good grasp of fire conditions. First, the deity did not appear. The on-site command on March 25, September 11 and 12 were all members of the Politburo’s Standing Committee in charge of the military. Last time it was Li Bingzhe and this time it was Park Zhengtian. The importance of Kim Jong-un’s non-attendance test is not as high as touted by the official media. The success of the hydrogen bomb and Mars-5 test is a milestone breakthrough in North Korea’s national defense.
Second, it only takes place in North Korean territory and territorial waters. They do not fly on the high seas, let alone fly over Japanese territory or exclusive economic zone, and emphasize self-defense rather than provocation. So as not to overstimulate Japan, prevent it from instigating the United States to impose pressure or separately impose sanctions, and at the same time avoid condemnation from the international community.
Third, never conduct nuclear tests and test firing of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This is a common red line for the United States, China, and Russia. It is too stimulating and threatens the United States. The United States inevitably called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council and drafted a draft sanctions resolution, which was passed unanimously by 15 countries without any suspense. All North Korea’s previous diplomatic efforts have been in vain.
Fourthly, they have a sense of presence and raise the bargaining chip. For example, test firing of cruise missiles, or test firing of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, or launching civilian satellites to verify intercontinental ballistic missile technology in disguise, etc., constantly testing the United States’ response and bottom line. The United States is also helpless and can’t be ruthless.
In terms of intent, there are also four. First, promote domestic loyalty and unity. At present, North Korea is in a “trouble march” again, and there is a serious shortage of food and consumer goods for the people’s livelihood. It is in urgent need of boosting morale and confidence.
Second, no matter how the United States reacts, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. If the United States overreacted, North Korea immediately raised its propaganda firepower as at the end of March, successfully shifting domestic conflicts and focus; if the United States responded mildly, North Korea continued to test fire, from short-range to long-range, from conventional warheads to simulated nuclear warheads, cutting sausage-like ground. Improve the huge nuclear missile program.
Third, give both sticks and carrots to the army. On June 29th and September 2nd, Kim Jong-un performed major operations on the Politburo, especially the army, and the author judged that major strategic adjustments have been made (an analysis in another article). He may ask the army to endure for 2-3 years to make way for the economy and people’s livelihood, while at the same time pacifying the army, emphasizing the value of the army, and highlighting the army’s contribution.
Fourth, it highlights the independence and autonomy of North Korea. Although the national strength is far inferior to that of China and the United States, it is attempting to expand through its small size. The test shot suggested that North Korea would neither listen to the United States nor China. Of course, he will not take the slant as he did in 2017, specifically picking the US dollar’s first Sea Lake Manor Summit (the first time with Trump), the US National Day missile test, and the hydrogen bomb explosion at the opening ceremony of the Xiamen BRICS Summit.
Violation of Security Council Resolutions
The Moon Jae-in government and the mainstream South Korean media have been appeasing North Korea, and have always reduced major issues to small issues. North Korea tested missiles twice. Yonhap News Agency reported on March 24 that government sources’ judgments were disclosed that “North Korea’s launch is not a ballistic missile and did not violate the UN Security Council resolutions.” On September 13, it also judged that “it does not violate the UN Security Council.” Low-intensity demonstrations against the DPRK resolution.”
Some Chinese scholars and netizens, based on ideology or anti-American complex, also believe that it is not a test firing of ballistic missiles and that it did not violate Security Council resolutions. It is difficult for the author to agree that North Korea’s test-fired long-range cruise missile violated the Security Council’s sanctions.
Since 1993, there have been 25 UN Security Council resolutions related to nuclear non-proliferation and North Korea’s nuclear missiles, including 10 sanctions resolutions on dry goods and binding, namely No. 1718, 1874, 2087, 2094, 2270, 2321, 2356, 2371. , Resolutions 2375, 2397. All 10 resolutions emphasized that North Korea must abandon nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles through CVID.
The author inquired about these 25 resolutions. Indeed, none of them explicitly required North Korea not to conduct cruise missile tests, but three reasons can be found:
First, the vehicle. The 10 Security Council sanctions on North Korea repeatedly reiterated that “the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery continue to pose a threat to international peace and security.” Medium- and long-range cruise missiles can carry nuclear warheads and are the means of delivery of three types of weapons of mass destruction. , Obviously falls within the scope of the ban on the Security Council’s sanctions resolutions.
Second, the original commitment. The Security Council’s other nine sanctions resolutions except for No. 2094 and Resolution 1695 require North Korea to “renew its original commitment to suspend all missile launches” (Press: No. 2371 and previous resolutions call “original” “Original”, the wording position is different, but does not affect the meaning). “All missiles” should include ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, short-range, medium-range, long-range, land-based, sea-based, and air-based.
Third, the bottom statement. The Security Council’s multiple sanctions resolutions also have all-inclusive clauses and expressions. Resolution 2087 requires North Korea to “no further provocations”; Resolution 2094 “should not engage in further provocations”; Resolutions 2270 and 2321 “should no more provocations”; Nos. 2356, 2371, 2375, and 2397 “no further provocations.” Other provocations”, the tone tends to be harsh and tough.
North Korea keeps making small moves, drifting in the gray area of the sanctions resolution, frequently provoking the bottom line of the United States, and playing psychological warfare at the same time, waiting to be sold. Of course, whether it determines that North Korea has violated the Security Council’s sanctions resolutions, whether the Security Council adopts new resolutions to escalate sanctions against North Korea, or simply patch up North Korea to conduct cruise missile tests, mainly depends on the United States. China, Russia, Britain, France, and South Korea will not take the lead in drafting and intensifying conflicts. The Japanese right-wing government wants to intensify conflicts and fish in troubled waters, but fortunately it has limited influence on the United States.
In general, the United States still has a higher probability of releasing water, with one eye open and one eye closed. China and Russia are also happy to be good old people. The North Korean nuclear game will continue, torturing each other, painful and fulfilling.
(Note: The author is a researcher of Chahar Society, WeChat public number: SSWYPL. This article only represents the author’s personal views. The editor’s email is [email protected])