North Korea is gearing up for a fresh round of provocative military demonstrations, including long-range missile tests and a spy satellite launch to prop up its faltering economy and distract its citizenry.
Lawmakers in South Korea were informed by their country’s intelligence agency that North Korea’s GDP fell every year from 2020 to 2022 and that in 2018, it was 12% lower than in 2016.
The present food shortages and economic woes in North Korea are said to be the worst since Kim Jong Un came to power in late 2011. However, Kim seems to be maintaining control over his population of 26 million with no indications of famine or significant public disturbance. North Korean watchdog organizations report that the country’s food shortage has been exacerbated by the government’s measures to limit market activity, falling personal earnings, and the quarantine restrictions imposed in response to a pandemic.
The NIS’s track record of accurately reporting events in North Korea is less than stellar, but it is still preferable to those of non-governmental monitoring organizations.
Considering the next large annual U.S.-South Korean military activities and the upcoming trilateral U.S.-South Korea-Japan meeting at Camp David in the United States, Kim is anticipated to restart weapons testing next week.
The NIS has uncovered very unusual activity at two North Korean sites connected to the development of ICBMs: one producing solid-fueled ICBMs and the other relating to liquid-fueled ICBMs. In honor of the 75th anniversary of the state’s founding on September 9, North Korea may attempt to launch a spy satellite toward the end of August or the beginning of September. According to the NIS, North Korea has erected another ground antenna to collect satellite data and has begun testing an engine for the rocket to be used in the launch.
North Korea takes U.S. attempts to strengthen ties with South Korea and Japan very seriously. More than a hundred weapons tests have been carried out by the North since the beginning of 2022, with the country justifying the moves by claiming it needed to counteract growing U.S.-South Korean military drills.
Many experts think North Korea still has to overcome certain remaining technical obstacles before its ICBMs can reach the U.S. mainland, despite its ability to demonstrate the range necessary.