North Korea showcasing ‘developing capability' to deliver ‘tactical and strategic nuclear weapons', says UN expert panel

by Gabriel Dominguez

The ballistic missile systems paraded by North Korea in October 2020 and January 2021 have confirmed the country’s “developing capability” to deliver “tactical and strategic nuclear weapons”, according to a report by a United Nations panel of experts for the UN Security Council (UNSC).

The military parades also showcased “diversity and innovation, as well as the renewal of the [country’s] missile arsenal, with solid-fuel missiles replacing liquid-propellant short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs)”, said the experts in the report, which was dated 4 March but only published in late March.

Moreover, citing an assessment made by a UN member state, the experts noted that judging by the size of the weapons, “it is highly likely” that a nuclear device can be mounted on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Perhaps, more importantly, they indicated that it is “also likely that a nuclear device can be mounted on the [country’s] medium-range ballistic missiles and short-range ballistic missiles”.

One of the road-mobile SRBM systems paraded by North Korea on 14 January in Pyongyang. The new system, apparently a variant of the KN-23, is believed to have been test-fired on 25 March. (KCNA)

One of the road-mobile SRBM systems paraded by North Korea on 14 January in Pyongyang. The new system, apparently a variant of the KN-23, is believed to have been test-fired on 25 March. (KCNA)

That said, the member state noted that it was “uncertain” about whether North Korea has developed ballistic missiles “resistant to the heat generated during re-entry”.

In their report, which covered the period from 4 August 2020 to 5 February 2021, the experts stated that Pyongyang has also showcased the mobility of its different land-based ballistic missiles, which are deployed from transporter-erector-launchers (TELs), and pointed out that the Northeast Asian country is building a new submarine that is expected to be “capable of launching the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) Pukguksong-3, as well as probably the new Pukguksong-4 and Pukguksong-5 missiles”.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/north-korea-showcasing-developing-capability-to-deliver-tactical-and-strategic-nuclear-weapons-says-un-expert-panel

The ballistic missile systems paraded by North Korea in October 2020 and January 2021 have confirmed...

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