Report: N. Korea Simulates 'Nuclear Counterattack’

    Report: N. Korea Simulates 'Nuclear Counterattack’
    Last updated Mar 20, 2023
    Image credit: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    • North Korea over the weekend held two days of drills that simulated a nuclear counterattack — including the firing of a ballistic missile carrying a mock nuclear warhead — all under the supervision of leader Kim Jong Un, according to state news agency KCNA.[1]
    • Kim expressed satisfaction with the drills, which the report said were held "to let relevant units get familiar with the procedures and processes for implementing their tactical nuclear attack missions."[2]
    • This was North Korea’s fourth show of force in a week, and came during Freedom Shield – the biggest joint exercise in five years between the US and South Korea. North Korea reportedly views such exercises as rehearsals for invasion.[3]
    • South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Sunday that it had detected North Korea’s launch of a short-range ballistic missile. US Forces Korea tweeted Sunday that it was consulting further with allies and partners about the launch.[4]
    • Photos suggest the launch involved a KN-23 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) but, unlike past tests, the engine exhaust appeared to be vented on either side at the moment of liftoff, indicating the use of a silo. Previously, North Korea has preferred using mobile launchers for everything from SRBMs to huge ICBMs.[5]
    • Reportedly, more than 1.4M North Koreans have volunteered to join or re-enlist in the military to fight against South Korea and the US, up from 800K enlistees reported over the weekend.[6]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    These tests are a continuation of North Korea’s unpredictability and repeated threats, which have put the stability of the region at risk. Extended deterrence by the US and South Korea is the only option until Kim is willing to return to the negotiating table.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The US can’t deny that it bears the main responsibility for declining diplomatic relations with North Korea, especially as the Biden administration has switched back to a confrontational course following former Pres. Trump's efforts at de-escalation. By fueling conflict, the US hopes to establish closer ties with Japan and South Korea to cut into China’s regional influence.

    Nerd narrative

    There’s a 39% chance that North Korea will possess enough fissile material to make at least 100 warheads by 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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