Category Archives: Koreas

A Paradigm Shift in North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Development? | 38 North

What Explains North Korea’s Solid Propellant Rocket Technology?

How did North Korea make such significant progress in the solid propulsion technology field? As is well known, the structure of a solid propellant rocket is much simpler than that of a liquid propellant rocket, but the complexity of the design grows exponentially with its size, requiring extensive testing and design iterations for development. Therefore, it is entirely possible that Pyongyang has been working on solid propellant technology for more than a decade while simultaneously developing the indigenous Musudan liquid propellant engine. It is also possible that Pyongyang is concurrently developing the solid propellant Pukguksong-2 IRBM and solid propellant Pukguksong-3 ICBM. As such, it would not be surprising if the North also decides initially to pursue concurrent development of both solid and liquid propellant ICBMs (Figure 7).

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Some experts also suspect that North Korea’s accelerated development of solid fuel rockets is connected to Iran’s missile program—more specifically, that the North provided liquid propellant missile technology to Iran in exchange for solid propellant missile technology. However, Iran only started to develop solid propellant missiles in the early 2000s, and its two-stage solid propellant Sajiil missile is still in development. In short, Iran has not yet mastered this technology. Nevertheless, a connection between the two countries is possible, but it is difficult to substantiate such claims due to the lack of solid evidence.

A Paradigm Shift in North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Development? | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

In Japan People Are Buying Bomb Shelters For Nuclear War (Thanks to North Korea) | The National Interest Blog

Japanese people are ordering specialized nuclear fallout shelters as North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Oribe Seiki Seisakusho, a company in Western Japan, that builds shelters, has received eight orders this month, two more than its usual total for an entire year, Reuters reports. The company has also sold out of air purifiers designed to block radiation and poisonous gas, Nobuko Oribe, the company director, explained to reporters.

In Japan People Are Buying Bomb Shelters For Nuclear War (Thanks to North Korea) | The National Interest Blog

Are we on the brink of a second Korean War? – The Boston Globe

So are we on the brink of the Second Korean War, if not World War III? I doubt it. Saturday was the Day of the Sun, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s largest national holiday. In recent weeks, there was a great deal of speculation that the Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, would use the opportunity to test or at least display some new piece of nuclear hardware. What we got were six KN-11 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and what looked like a new intercontinental ballistic missile, accompanied with the usual bellicose rhetoric (“If the United States wages reckless provocation against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with [an] annihilating strike.”) Sunday’s missile test was a fail.

Are we on the brink of a second Korean War? – The Boston Globe

US calls China’s bluff on North Korea – The Straits Times

It is still fashionable to deride the Donald Trump administration as lacking strategic knowledge or vision. But on North Korea, the administration has been neither silly nor devoid of purpose. It has wisely rejected the supposed dichotomy between a total war and no military options whatsoever as false. It has also told China in no uncertain terms that if the Chinese claim that they cannot influence events in North Korea, they should not object if others start exercising influence.

Reckless? No, or at least not yet. For there is no evidence that previous “peaceful” policies have worked, although there is plenty of evidence that the time for diplomacy is quickly running out.

Indeed, an even more persuasive case can be made that the only alternative to current US policies, which is to accept a nuclear North Korea as a permanent reality, remains the truly reckless option.

US calls China’s bluff on North Korea , Opinion News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

China Warns of ‘Storm Clouds Gathering’ in U.S.-North Korea Standoff – The New York Times

The speculation about an imminent underground detonation arises from satellite photographs that show the test site is fully prepared, and that holes into the site have been plugged, usually a last step to contain radiation. But at times the North, knowing it is under space surveillance, has readied the site but waited to conduct the test.

On Saturday, with Kim Jong-un watching from a raised platform, North Korea began a military parade in central Pyongyang to celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, the North’s founding president. The North sometimes uses such occasions to show off its military advances.

Japan is clearly examining worst-case scenarios.

China Warns of ‘Storm Clouds Gathering’ in U.S.-North Korea Standoff – The New York Times

China Reportedly Tells Troops To Be Ready For A Fight In Korea | The National Interest Blog

“If Pyongyang conducts its sixth nuclear test in the near future, the possibility of US military action against it will be higher than ever,” the Global Times, a newspaper run by the People’s Daily, the ruling party’s paper, wrote Wednesday, “Not only Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.”

Yet, Kim Jong-un appears undeterred.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming towards each other,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing last month. “The question is, are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision?”

China Reportedly Tells Troops To Be Ready For A Fight In Korea | The National Interest Blog

China Reportedly Tells Troops To Be Ready For A Fight In Korea | The National Interest Blog

“If Pyongyang conducts its sixth nuclear test in the near future, the possibility of US military action against it will be higher than ever,” the Global Times, a newspaper run by the People’s Daily, the ruling party’s paper, wrote Wednesday, “Not only Washington brimming with confidence and arrogance following the missile attacks on Syria, but Trump is also willing to be regarded as a man who honors his promises.”

Yet, Kim Jong-un appears undeterred.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming towards each other,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing last month. “The question is, are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision?”

China Reportedly Tells Troops To Be Ready For A Fight In Korea | The National Interest Blog

China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage | Reuters

China said on Friday tension over North Korea had to be stopped from reaching an “irreversible and unmanageable stage” as a U.S. aircraft carrier group steamed toward the region amid fears the North may conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test.

Concern has grown since the U.S. Navy fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airfield last week in response to a deadly gas attack, raising questions about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for North Korea, which has conducted missile and nuclear tests in defiance of U.N. and unilateral sanctions.

The United States has warned that a policy of “strategic patience” is over. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence travels to South Korea on Sunday on a long-planned 10-day trip to Asia.

China says North Korea tension has to be stopped from reaching ‘irreversible’ stage | Reuters

South Koreans Not Worried by Talk of War

Despite the heightened inter-Korean tensions over the North’s accelerated nuclear and ballistic missile testing, and the increasing talk of a U.S. preemptive strike, few South Koreans appear concerned by the prospect of imminent conflict.

In Seoul’s Yeouido Park, carefree crowds flock to see the cherry blossoms at their peak. Few are old enough to remember the Korea War that ended over 60 years ago, nor do they seem concerned that this region may be on the brink of war.

South Koreans Not Worried by Talk of War