Just the Facts

Five Facts on the North Korea Missile Tests

By No Labels
August 19, 2019 | Blog

There were six North Korean weapons tests in a three-weekperiod. North Korea began conducting new missile tests at the end of July, for the first time since May of this year. Here are the facts. 

North Korea conducted six weapons tests between July 25 and August 16. 

Of the six weapons tests, five were short-range ballistic missiletests. There were two tests conducted early the mornings of July 25, July 31, August 3, August 6, August 10, and August 16, respectively. Prior to the six recent weapons tests, North Korea conducted four tests in May.[1]The tests include a KN-23, which is a new short-range ballistic missile, as well as another new short-range ballistic missile with an unknown title, and a new rocket launcher.[2]

North Korea did not conduct any known weapons tests in 2018. 

There was a lull in North Korean missile testing in the beginning of 2019 and all of 2018. There were 87 missile tests in North Korea between 2012 and 2017. In the 37-year period before Kim Jong Un came to power at the end of 2011, North Korea conducted only 31 missile tests. Kim Jong Un’s two predecessors conducted the majority of their tests in one location, while Kim Jong Un has conducted weapons tests across the country.[3]

The recent missile tests started around the same time as the U.S. and South Korea began joint annual military exercises.  

Pyongyang dubbed one of the missile tests as a warning to the U.S. and South Korea to cancel their military exercise. The U.S. and South Korea began a scaled-down version of the annual war games on Sunday, despite North Korea’s warnings. The annual military exercises, which are known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG), were suspended last August and were scaled down for the 2019 exercises.[4]

President Trump received a letter from Kim Jong Un on Friday, August 9. 

President Trump and Kim Jong Un have met three times. Two of the leaders’ meetings were formal summits, one in Singapore and the other in Vietnam. Their third meeting was informal in the Demilitarized Zone on the border of North Korea and South Korea, which marked the first time a U.S. presidentstepped foot on North Korean soil. The two have discussed nuclear weapons policy, but have not yet reached a deal.[5]

Prior to the recent weapons testing, a photo was released on July 23 of Kim Jong Un inspecting a submarine.

Experts recently concluded that the submarine in the photo is similar to a 1950s Russian submarine. North Korea has operated similar submarines in the past, but their last known construction was in 1996. Experts believe that the submarine has been modified to be a ballistic missile submarine. North Korea released a missile submarine in 2014, but that submarine had only single-missile capability. This new submarine has enough space for up to three missiles.[6]

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