Analysis suggests that North Korea’s nuclear weapons targeting South Korea will reach at least 180. The Asan Institute for Policy Studies and the Rand Institute, an American think tank, released a joint report containing this content on the 30th. In their report, the two research institutes assessed that it would be possible to load 180 nuclear weapons on the KN-25, a short-range ballistic missile ( SRBM ) that North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un himself declared to be deployed in combat at the end of last year . It is believed that there are plans to load 100 to 150 nuclear weapons on another SRBM , the North Korean version of Iskander ( KN-23 ). These SRBMs , which have a range spanning all of Korea, are evaluated to be capable of mounting miniaturized tactical nuclear weapons. According to Dong-A Ilbo coverage, some in our military authorities are said to be assessing that North Korea currently has more than 220 nuclear weapons. North Korea announced this year that it would exponentially increase the production of nuclear weapons and acquire the ability to strike multiple nuclear weapons targeting the entire Korean Peninsula in the future. In this case, there are concerns that the ROK-US air defense network or the US nuclear umbrella may not function properly.
In a research report titled ‘Measures to Strengthen Nuclear Security for South Korea,’ the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and the Rand Institute analyzed that North Korea would possess 180 nuclear weapons through the KN-25 alone. This result was based on claims made by Chairman Kim at the presentation ceremony for 30 KN-25s on December 31 last year . KN-25 , with a range of up to 400 km , can launch 6 missiles each. At the time, Chairman Kim claimed, “It is a key offensive weapon that has range over all of South Korea and can even be equipped with tactical nuclear weapons.” Regarding the KN-23, another tactical nuclear delivery vehicle, the report analyzed that “Chairman Kim is expected to produce at least 100 to 150 aircraft.” Previously, in March of this year, North Korea unveiled the actual tactical nuclear warhead ‘Hwasan -31’ , which is estimated to be less than 50cm in diameter. Authorities are conducting further analysis as to whether this object is an actual nuclear warhead, but considering North Korea’s miniaturization of nuclear weapons and the speed of technological advancement, multiple government sources estimate that virtually all missiles will be able to be equipped with nuclear weapons. This means that all three types of weapons targeting South Korea, including the KN-23 with a diameter of 70 to 90 cm and the North Korean version of the ATACMS ( KN-24 ), as well as the KN-25 with a diameter of 60 cm, can all be used as means of delivering tactical nuclear weapons. Some in the military say that, considering the speed at which North Korea operates centrifuges to produce highly enriched uranium, the main raw material for nuclear weapons, the total number of centrifuges, and the operation cycle of the Yongbyon nuclear facility to obtain high-purity plutonium, arithmetically calculated, there are already 220 nuclear weapons in North Korea. Some say it will be more than expected. In a phone call with the Dong-A Ilbo on the 30th, a high-ranking military official said, “North Korea is rapidly increasing the number of missiles capable of carrying온라인카지노 nuclear weapons,” and added, “Nuclear warheads will also rapidly become smaller and lighter.” The report also said, “Chairman Kim appears to be planning at least 300 to 500 nuclear power plants, and this number exceeds the international community’s current expectations.” Including nuclear weapons to be mounted on intermediate-range ballistic missiles ( IRBMs ) and intercontinental ballistic missiles ( ICBMs ) targeting Japan and the United States in addition to SRBMs for use against South Korea , the target number of nuclear weapons could reach 500. The report said that North Korea can produce 18 nuclear weapons per year and that, based on the trend, it will reach the threshold of producing 300 nuclear weapons by 2030.
● “100 U.S. nuclear weapons must be designated for ‘Korean security support’”
Considering North Korea’s advancement in nuclear capabilities, the report also states that South Korea and the United States should apply step-by-step pressure, such as designating some of the U.S. tactical nuclear weapons for South Korea’s security support or deploying actual nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Since there are still doubts about whether the U.S. nuclear umbrella will operate if North Korea launches a nuclear attack targeting South Korea, a more specific plan is needed than the existing U.S. nuclear umbrella strategy. In order to freeze North Korea’s production of nuclear weapons, the report proposes that nuclear weapons loaded on U.S. strategic nuclear-powered submarines operating in the Pacific be used against North Korea, or that about 100 of
America’s aging B61 tactical nuclear weapons be designated as ‘for South Korea’s security support’ and modernized . A four-step strategy was presented, including a plan for Korea to bear the cost.
● “Possibility of having 300 nuclear weapons by 2030”