North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency reported Friday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un carried out a field visit to a testing site of newly developed cutting-edge tactical weapon. The North Korean media outlet bragged and blustered, saying that it has significance for a tight territorial defense as well as the solidification of the Korean People's Army. It was last November that Kim made a field visit to a weapon testing site when the Hwasong-15, an ICBM, was launched, declaring the completion of nuclear power.
Pyongyang did not release any detail of tactical weapon such as weapon and testing type. However, it could be a new multiple rocket launcher or a short-range tactical missile with a greater effective range and firepower. The North has recently mentioned the revival of the Economy-Nuclear Parallel Policy, threatening that things will fall through in case of need. While it refrains from provocations by tactical weapon but shows off weapon against South Korea, the North targets both the U.S., which does not respond to its demand for lessening sanctions, and South Korea, which hesitates to do inter-Korean projects. Also, it has delivered a message to the international community that any pressure would never make the regime give in, at the time of voting on the passing of the North Korean human rights resolution at the U.N. Third Committee.
According to observations, a test launch was performed of a 122-mm multiple rocket launcher with a longer effective range. Also, bombing and seepage drills were carried out on the South’s military facilities. South Korean intelligence authorities also judge that the North has continued nuclear production and development despite the suspension of nuclear and missile provocations. The South Korean military has also sustained small-scale joint drills and independent exercises even without any large-scale joint training with the U.S. However, as the South postponed launching long-haul ground-to-air L-SAMs twice, it has caused controversy that even normal military activities may have been dialed down and shunned for fear of the North’s negative reaction.
As signed by the Sept. 19 military agreement, South Korea is destroying guard posts at the forefronts. Added to this, the South Korean Defense Ministry announced that it considers expanding the existing no-fly zone, around the Military Demarcation Line, to include the areas around the Northern Limit Line (NLL) and the estuary of the Han River. Regarding the issue of expanding the restricted airspace, there has been criticism that air-force and surveillance assets, where the South has a greater competitiveness edge over its Northern counterpart, have been paralyzed. If that were not bad enough, the South Korean government plans to offer a North Korea policy that will only worsen the controversy. Strong military force is the foundation for inter-Korean reconciliation and peace building on the Korean Peninsula. Security issues are not subject to compromise.