North Korea’s New Weapons for Civil Defense
Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea ⓒKorean Central News Agency
Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of North Korea, emphasized the modernization of military equipment again, affirming the course of ‘self-defensive national defense power enhancement’ at the Supreme People’s Assembly held on the 15th.
Ordering the strengthening of civil defense forces and introducing various new weapons, he expressed a ‘strategic plan’ saying “Let’s protect the country with all-out defense and prepare for a revolutionary crisis”.
North Korea presented ‘goals’ for each sector such as △the military industry △nuclear weapons △missile development and production △space development △shipbuilding industry △unmanned aviation industry and electronic warfare △civil defense forces, about the ‘2024 national defense development strategy’ at the plenary meeting held at the end of last month.
The specific content was not disclosed, but it is evaluated that North Korea, which has been seeking to strengthen the ‘second-strike capability’, is putting more effort into the existing course based on some achievements. The second-strike capability refers to the ability to retaliate with nuclear weapons even if the opponent’s country suffers great damage from the first strike (nuclear attack).
The trend of emphasizing second-strike capability can also be confirmed in Chairman Kim’s frequent ‘war-related remarks’.
Chairman Kim poured out remarks such as “We will never wage a unilateral war unless the enemies touch us”, “The absolute power we are fostering is not a means of unilateral force unification for a pre-emptive attack”, “There is no reason to choose war, and therefore there is no intention to carry it out unilaterally, but if war comes to our reality, we will not make an effort to avoid it”, “If the enemies even spark the flames of war, the Republic will mobilize all its military power, including nuclear weapons, to firmly punish our enemies” at this plenary meeting.
He did not hide his confidence in the second-strike capability by expressing his willingness to use nuclear weapons focused on retaliation.
There are predictions that North Korea’s second-strike capability can be further strengthened through the reinforcement of surveillance and reconnaissance assets in line with the development of various new weapons. North Korea has publicly stated that it will launch three additional reconnaissance satellites this year and develop and produce various unmanned armed equipment and electronic warfare means.
Since last year, North Korea’s efforts to strengthen naval power have also been evaluated in the same context. For example, the ‘Second Shipbuilding Industry Revolution’ emphasized at last year’s plenary meeting about shipbuilding could express the intention to improve submarine stability and build additional submarines.
Researcher Kim Bo-mi of the National Security Strategy Research Institute recently predicted at a forum that Chairman Kim, who mentioned ‘sea-land-air’ instead of ‘land-sea-air’ last year, “will focus on strengthening naval power to improve second-strike capability this year”.
Researcher Kim said, “Currently, North Korean submarines operate in limited areas such as Wonsan and Sinpo, so there is a very high possibility of being detected by the US-ROK Combined Forces. Given that (North Korean submarines) need to periodically surface, additional submarine construction is necessary to achieve the goal of alternating mission performance for the second-strike capability”.
Regarding the ‘Kim Gun Ok Hero Submarine’, which North Korea revealed last year as a ‘tactical nuclear attack submarine’, there is an observation that “they may also be interested in acquiring Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology to enhance submergence capability”. AIP is a technology that allows the production of power underwater without the injection of external air, enabling long-term submergence of diesel-powered submarines.