Military’s Expectations for North Korea’s Next Moves
Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea ⓒKorean Central News Agency
Amid speculations that North Korea could provoke in response to major political events in ‘hostile countries’ such as the South Korean general elections and the U.S. presidential elections, Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said he is considering various possibilities.
In an interview with Yonhap News on the 11th, Minister Shin said, “There is a possibility of a direct military provocation that is difficult to predict or identify the perpetrator, like the provocation signs during the Cheonan incident, around the South Korean general elections.”
Minister Shin also expressed the view that North Korea could create social chaos through large-scale hacking and various means such as social media, in addition to physical provocations.
Regarding the U.S. presidential election, he predicted, “They could attempt to create a strategic environment favorable to them by inducing the withdrawal of a hard-line policy towards North Korea through high-intensity provocations such as the launch of reconnaissance satellites and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) or a seventh nuclear test.”
Furthermore, Minister Shin mentioned the possibility of military action for the achievement of the ‘Five-Year Plan for National Defense Development’ established by North Korea through the 8th Workers’ Party Congress in 2021.
Minister Shin said, “North Korea is believed to have secured a considerable level of nuclear and missile capabilities through multiple missile launches and other means. To achieve the tasks of ‘producing super-large nuclear warheads’ and ‘improving the accuracy of ICBMs’, additional nuclear tests and normal-angle ICBM launches are considered necessary.”
He added, “North Korea will focus on the development of various strategic weapons to produce concrete results this year.”
North Korea has set specific tasks through the Five-Year Plan for National Defense Development such as △miniaturization and tactical weaponization of nuclear weapons △super-large nuclear warheads △improving the accuracy of striking a range of 15,000km (approximately 9,320 miles) △development of underwater and ground-based solid fuel ICBMs △possession of nuclear submarines and underwater launched nuclear strategic weapons.