North Korea tested a new cruise missile to deter the United States and its allies in the region, while affirming its determination to self-reliance, according to experts.
North Korea’s military last weekend test-fired a cruise missile from a mobile platform resembling a howitzer, which is said to be able to evade radar and penetrate enemy air defenses. The new missile has a similar shape to many modern long-range cruise missile models in the world.
“Based on images released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the country’s new cruise missile is quite similar to China’s CJ-10 model, developed on the basis of the Soviet Kh-55.” , Colonel Nguyen Minh Tam, former Director of the Center for Scientific Documentation, Political Academy of the People’s Public Security, told VnExpress.
According to Tam, based on the parameters of the CJ-10 and Kh-55, North Korea’s new missile is likely to be a medium-range missile with a combat radius of up to 1,500 km and a 500 kg warhead.
In addition, the fact that North Korea calls this weapon a “strategic cruise missile” shows that it can carry a miniaturized nuclear warhead, although according to the United Nations classification, cruise missiles are tactical weapons. .
Experts said that if it has a range of up to 1,500 km, North Korea’s new cruise missile can hit almost all targets on the territory of South Korea and Japan. This gives two key US allies in Northeast Asia reason to be concerned if the new missile model can carry a miniaturized nuclear warhead.
“In Northeast Asia, only North Korea has the capability to produce nuclear warheads. The cruise missile that has just been tested will become a new nuclear warhead vehicle, allowing North Korea to strike the ground. expand his opponents,” Colonel Tam said.
“However, in the current world of détente, the equipping of modern weapons is mainly for the purpose of deterrence, or at least for defense.”
Colonel Tam said that by testing cruise missiles, North Korea seems to be trying to avoid the UN sanctions resolution, which bans Pyongyang from developing long-range ballistic missiles, but still increases pressure on negotiating table with the US, Japan and South Korea on the Korean peninsula issue.
North Korea, the United States and South Korea are technically still in a state of war, because the Armistice Agreement signed in July 1953 is just a truce. Meanwhile, the US is determined not to lift sanctions before North Korea makes clear and irreversible concessions on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
“This forces North Korea to always be in a state of self-defense readiness. This is the most profound motivation for North Korea to continuously develop the field of defense industry with high technology,” the expert commented.
“North Korea’s defense industry has developed very deeply since nearly half a century, after the two Koreas were recognized by the United Nations as equal members of the organization.”
North Korea has successfully applied Russia’s strategic defense model with the construction of a full trio of deterrence weapons, especially missile systems of various sizes with ranges from a few hundred to nearly 10,000 km, Colonel Tam said. said. These missiles are enough to threaten US bases in South Korea, Japan, the Midway Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, the Alaskan peninsula and the west coast of the United States.
“By putting new long-range cruise missiles into service with the strategic weapon triad, North Korea can significantly enhance its deterrence capability, while the United States and its allies cannot have an excuse to increase sanctions. ” said Colonel Tam.
“If the US asks the Security Council to amend the resolution to punish North Korea, its allies will oppose because they also have a lot of cruise missiles of all sizes and ranges. Development and testing of missiles. A long-range cruise missile is a smart move by North Korea.”
North Korea’s new missile test is also seen as a warning ahead of trilateral talks between the US, Japan and South Korea on the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, experts said. “This is North Korea’s reminder to the United States that the position of the parties in Northeast Asia has changed, so Washington needs to renew its approach to Pyongyang,” he said.
North Korea’s new cruise missile test is also a message to South Korea that whichever candidate wins the presidential election after the March 9, 2022 elections, Pyongyang “remains steadfast in its stance on the preconditions for negotiations” on denuclearization.
The cruise missile test also demonstrated North Korea’s self-reliance in the context of the country’s strict sanctions and challenges because of Covid-19.
During the military parade to mark the 73rd National Day on September 9, North Korea’s Covid-19 prevention team appeared in orange protective clothing, which was established on the basis of military medical and chemical troops. Experts say this is a message that North Korea confirms that it is determined to prevent the pandemic from entering its territory.
“North Korea successfully prevented Covid-19 early and from afar, creating favorable conditions for the development of the domestic economy in general and the defense industry in particular,” Colonel Tam said.
“North Korea has been under strict sanctions for decades, but still has brought the defense industry to a fairly high level,” the expert said. “Outside help is important, but the decisive issue is that the North Koreans stand on their own two feet to develop.”