South Korea’s Defense Chief Discusses North Korea’s ICBM Capabilities

SEOUL: Defense Minister Shin Won-sik of South Korea asserted on Thursday that North Korea's recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test demonstrated its flight capability, but its atmospheric reentry technology remains unverified. This assessment follows North Korea's launch of the solid-fuel Hwasong-18 ICBM at a lofted angle on Monday, its fifth ICBM launch this year and the third of this type following tests in April and July.

Shin, during a parliamentary session, expressed skepticism regarding North Korea's claims about its Malligyong-1 spy satellite, launched last month and reportedly operational early this month. He noted that such satellites typically require five to six months to begin missions, even for advanced U.S. and South Korean technology. In response to North Korea's escalating threats, Shin emphasized expediting nuclear deterrence efforts with Washington and making bilateral Nuclear Consultative Group (NCG) agreements irreversible. The NCG's recent session concluded with plans to establish guidelines on shared nuclear strategy by mid-2024 and to conduct joint military exercises simulating nuclear attacks from North Korea. Shin also addressed the possibility of South Korea developing its own nuclear weapons, deeming it unrealistic and potentially harmful to the alliance with the U.S., advocating instead for strengthening extended deterrence with the U.S.

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