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Analysis – North Korea missile launches show no shortage of weapons funding, materials despite sanctions

Josh Smith

Seoul, November 8 (Reuters)North Korea’s record year of missile launches shows its willingness to devote resources to producing and deploying more weapons than ever before, and sanctions are doing little to deter their development, analysts say.

Last week, the country launched more than 80 missiles, including the latest short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and new variants of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

The cost of North Korea’s weapons is unknown, but other nations’ ICBMs could cost tens of millions of dollars and SRBMs such as Russia’s Iskandar could cost up to $3 million.

Analysts say the poor country’s missile program almost faces a roadblock, even though North Korea’s willingness to launch such expensive equipment into the sea is prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. He said he was suggesting that he did not.

North Korea must either have sufficient stocks of fuel and missiles, including complex machinery such as engines and guidance systems, the ability to rapidly produce new weapons, or the ability to obtain what it needs from abroad. said Mason Ritchie of Hankuk University for Foreign Studies in Seoul. the study.

“Every way you look at it, it highlights how inadequate sanctions have been and how likely they will be in the future,” he said.

Many of the missile launches in the past few weeks have been recently announced SRBMs, some of which appear to have been delivered to operational forces. North Korean state media indicated that his old SCUD-type missile was also launched.

Marcus Schiller, a European-based missile expert, said: “The fireworks show that there is a large stockpile of those missiles.

Even the latest SRBMs are several years old, which means North Korea may have stockpiles even if it could only manufacture them slowly, he said. He added that some, such as the KN-25 SRBM, were “definitely designed for mass production.”

Overseas network

The extent of foreign aid for North Korea’s missile program is hotly debated.

South Korea may discover new clues about how North Korea’s missiles are made when it analyzes debris recovered from an SRBM that fell offshore last week.

When South Korea collected the wreckage of North Korea’s Unha space launch vehicle in 2012, it said it found parts from Britain, Switzerland, the United States, China and the former Soviet Union.

Analysts and sanctions experts say North Korea continues to rely on materials and other input from abroad.

Hugh Griffiths, former coordinator of the UN Panel of Experts overseeing sanctions against North Korea and now an independent sanctions consultant, said: “Russia and China are home to most of North Korea’s ballistic missile procurement agents abroad. It’s where it is,’ he said.

The US government’s recommendation said that among North Korea’s most sought-after technologies and materials were multi-axle heavy vehicles for transporting and launching ballistic missiles. Specialty materials including steel, aluminum and titanium. Carbon fiber and filament winder for making lightweight rockets. Solid propellant containing aluminum powder and ammonium perchlorate.

“To obtain these parts, North Korea utilizes an extensive network of overseas procurement agents, including personnel from North Korean diplomatic missions, trade offices, third-country nationals, foreign companies, and others.” said the recommendation.

According to the recommendations, North Korea wants to import about 100 tons of solid propellants by 2030. Other materials are small, featureless, and easy to smuggle, Griffiths said.

“In some cases, we can even ship using fast parcelers like DHL,” he said.

Earlier this year, the US called “a network of Russia-based individuals and entities complicit in helping North Korea procure components for its illegal ballistic missile system,” including North Korean diplomats in Moscow. Sanctioned things.

He also cited a network of North Koreans and businesses based in Belarus and China.

In its response to the UN, Russia said it had no information about the allegations of illegal work. China said it had investigated the allegations but found no evidence.

Both countries have said they will implement UNSC sanctions.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Jerry Doyle)


The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/analysis-north-koreas-missile-launches-show-no-scarcity-of-weapons-funding-materials Analysis – North Korea missile launches show no shortage of weapons funding, materials despite sanctions

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