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Pacific on alert as North Korea tests new 'tactical guided weapon'

Rogue nation's push to boost nuclear capability marked by 13th test this year

Pacific on alert as North Korea tests new 'tactical guided weapon'
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un oversees a missile launch earlier this year. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP
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The Pacific is on alert after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un took his new weapons system out for a spin.

North Korea’s state media advertised that the government carried out a test of its tactical guided weapons created to boost the capabilities of its nuclear arsenal.

The test comes days after North Korea conducted the 110th birthday celebration march of Kim Il-sung in Pyongyang where it paraded the State’s military power in front of the people. It is the thirteenth weapons test so far this year.

There are serious concerns that Kim Jong-un doesn’t have enough new weapons to display for the next march scheduled for April 25 that is supposed to mark the founding of the North Korean army. He may instead, it’s feared, opt for a nuclear test to demonstrate the ‘power’ of his regime.

[The missile test was of] great significance in drastically improving the firepower of the frontline long-range artillery units, enhancing the efficiency in the operation of tactical nukes of and diversification of their firepower missions,” said the Korean Central News Agency.

Given reports coming out of the State press, it is assumed that the weapons tested over the weekend are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, although there is no confirmation from the secretive regime. South Korea, who monitor the actions of its communist neighbour, reported two missile launches from Hamhung on Saturday night. The missiles were monitored travelling at Mach 4 for 110 kilometres. South Korea also said that North Korea has been rebuilding collapsed tunnels around their nuclear testing facility.

Kim Jong-un justifies the fortune his leadership spends on nuclear weapons while its people starve as a ‘response to US aggression’ despite no one having any plans to invade North Korea. Instead, the communist nation is widely regarded to use fear of external threat to keep its impoverished population controlled under a brutal regime that has been in place since Kim Jong-un’s grandfather and ‘Eternal Leader’ Kim Il-sung established the totalitarian dictatorship. The late Christopher Hitchens famously referred to North Korea’s unusual system of government as a Necrocracy – a nation operating under the rule of a dead leader.

North Korea has a domestic imperative to make and perfect weapons ordered by Kim Jong-un last year regardless of what the US does or doesn’t do,” said senior analyst at Washington’s Centre for a New American Security, Duyeon Kim. “The test also tells his people that their country is strong despite their apparent economic difficulties.”

Military escalations inside North Korea are a concern for the Pacific region, as North Korea acts in accordance with fellow communist regimes Beijing and Moscow. Kim Jong-un’s government wholeheartedly supports Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and has suggested it will support an attack on Taiwan were Beijing to launch one. North Korea last week called Putin’s attack on Ukraine ‘reasonable and just’.

South Korea and Japan have urgently strengthened ties, fearing that the trilateral arrangement between Russia, China, and North Korea presents and urgent security risk. Both China and Russia blocked the United Nations from imposing further sanctions on North Korea for its missile tests.

Ironically, Ukraine’s invasion after handing over their nuclear weapons has left North Korea resolved to maintain and extend its nuclear capabilities. Any discussions or dreams of disarming the dictatorial regime are regarded as dead.

North Korea last tested its nuclear weapons in 2017 causing a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. While North Korea is known to lie about its weapon capabilities, most international observers believe a two-stage thermonuclear weapon was detonated underground which killed twelve people and injured 150. The deaths came from a nearby village where buildings collapsed, including a school, that killed several children.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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