DPRK may sell Russia a new type of ballistic missiles: South Korea warns of danger
North Korea may sell Russia new types of ballistic missiles in addition to the alleged supply of short-range missiles for use in a war against Ukraine. Dictator Kim Jong-un's recent visit to military factories may be related to possible arms supplies to Moscow.
This was stated by South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik in an interview with the Yonhap news agency. According to him, the DPRK may also test solid-fueled intermediate-range ballistic missiles this month and launch a long-range missile to increase the already high tension on the eve of key events in South Korea and the United States.
The official noted that the weapon system presented by North Korean state media during Kim Jong-un's visit to a munitions factory earlier this week appears to be a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying tactical nuclear weapons.
"North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile for the first time in April 2022. This is a new type of weapon with an estimated range of 100-180 kilometers," said Shin.
The agency he heads has classified North Korean missiles mounted on mobile launchers as ballistic missiles, which are about 5 meters long and have a range of less than 300 kilometers.
"North Korea has said it will deploy ballistic missiles in the military. Given the recent arms trade, I think it may sell them to Russia as the two countries strengthen their military cooperation," the minister added.
According to his estimates, as of the end of December, the DPRK had provided Russia with about 5,000 weapons containers that could hold about 2.3 million rounds of 152mm shells or about 400,000 rounds of 122mm artillery shells.
The minister expressed concern over Russia's alleged provision of technological assistance to North Korea's weapons program in exchange for arms trade, including Pyongyang's first spy satellite, which it launched in November and promised to launch three more in 2024.
It is believed that the DPRK will organize various forms of provocations ahead of the South Korean parliamentary elections in April and the US presidential elections in November for the sake of its strategic interests.
For example, Shin said, Pyongyang is preparing to test a new type of ballistic missile after two solid-fuel engine tests in November, weighing the possibility of launching it this month.
Seoul officials believe that the solid-fuel missile, which is being developed by Pyongyang and is more difficult to detect due to its shorter preparation time, could potentially target U.S. military bases in Japan and Guam.
Shin also suggested that the DPRK could launch intercontinental ballistic missiles at normal angles to test their reentry technology and precision strike capabilities. In addition, North Korea could conduct a seventh nuclear test "at any time."
"But the time is difficult to predict, as it depends on the North Korean leadership. It may consider the optimal time to exert influence, taking into account the elections in South Korea and the United States. North Korea's status as a nuclear weapon state is unacceptable and should not be recognized. Its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and missiles will only lead to more international sanctions. Nuclear development is not a "sword of omnipotence" but a "poisoned chalice" for Kim Jong-un, and he must realize this," Minister Shin Won-sik summarized.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, the United States has received evidence that Russia has recently attacked Ukraine with ballistic missiles made in North Korea. The White House listed these cases and said it would continue to impose sanctions on those who facilitate the illegal transfer of weapons to the aggressor.
South Korea's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Hwang Joon Kook, condemned the DPRK for sending missiles to Russia to attack Ukrainian cities. He emphasized that this fact has an impact on the global non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and also creates new challenges that require a response from the international community.