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Korean Peninsula Risk Advisory 2/2024




A comprehensive review of events - diplomatic, military, economic and their impact


Diplomacy


South Korea urged Japan on April 23 to demonstrate its "sincere remorse" through action after a group of Japanese politicians paid a visit to a war shrine seen as a symbol of Japan's militaristic past. A suprapartisan group of 94 lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine on its spring festival earlier in the day, according to Japan's Kyodo News.

 

Conventional


North Korea conducted a tactical drill simulating a nuclear counterattack involving super-large multiple rocket launchers, a day after South Korea said the North fired short-range missiles into the East Sea. Leader Kim Jong-un guided the drill held on April 22. "The drill ... is a clear warning signal to the enemies as it was conducted at a time when the enemies' military confrontation racket against the DPRK is being committed with extremely provocative and aggressive nature," the North Korean agency KCNA said. North Korea will face the end of its regime if it attempts to use nuclear weapons, the South Korean defense ministry warned on April 23, after the North said it conducted rocket drills simulating a nuclear counterattack.


Risk and Impact


There is a reason for concern over North Korean leader supervising a tactical drill simulating a nuclear counterattack as this is a declaration of intent regardless of the capabilities possessed by the country to do so. North Korea's large-sized artillery rockets blur the boundary between artillery systems and ballistic missiles because they can create their own thrust and are guided during delivery.

 

The North has described some of these systems, including the 600mm multiple rocket launchers that were tested, as capable of delivering tactical nuclear warheads. It remains unclear whether the North perfected the designs for small, battlefield nuclear weapons that could fit on its rockets. South Korean military feels that North was likely exaggerating the accuracy of its multiple rocket launcher systems and that South Korea would be able to detect and intercept such weapons, without elaborating on specific missile defense capabilities.

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