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2021/10/22

The Korean Peninsula Enters an Era of Arms Race(Junya Nishino, Professor, Faculty of Law, Keio University)

The launch of a cruise missile by North Korea on September reaffirms the increasing severity of the security environment surrounding Japan.

According to Rodong Sinmun newspaper, North Korea "successfully test-fired its newly developed long-range cruise missile on Sept. 11 and 12." The cruise missile "flew along the set elliptical and figure-8 flight trajectory for 7,580 seconds (about 2 hours and 6 minutes) and hit a target 1,500 kilometers away," it said. In addition, the warhead missile launched on the 15th flew about 750 kilometers and is estimated to have fallen within Japan's exclusive economic zone, and North Korea released a video of the missile being launched from a railroad car.

When North Korea launches a missile or takes other military action, its intentions are always questioned, and this time, too, there are three ways to view it. The first is that it was to strengthen defense and deterrence, the second is that it addressed domestic political purposes (domestic control and raising national prestige), and the third is that it was meant as a message to the outside world. These are not mutually exclusive, but in light of North Korea's developments since Chairman Kim Jong-un defined relations with the United States as a long-term war at the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee the Workers' Party of Korea at the end of 2019, it can be said that North Korea is currently placing emphasis on the first objective.

 

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