Analysis, Military

Uptick in Likelihood of North Korean WMD Activity

A Predata-CSIS Beyond Parallel April 13 prediction indicates there is a 58% likelihood of North Korean weapons of mass destruction (WMD) activity taking place in the next 14 days. In the next 30 days, there is an 84% chance for North Korean WMD activity. Beyond Parallel defines WMD activity as nuclear tests and missile launches.

The 90-day exponential averages for the North Korea WMD signals indicate a steady march upward in signal strength since February 27. In fact, these signals reached their highest level on April 12 in the last 142 to 144 days.

As seen below, Predata’s North Korea WMD overview signal captured an uptick in online conversations around the topic on April 12. Indeed, at a signal strength of 11, the signal is exceeding its 30-day trailing average by 2.9 standard deviations. This last occurred on March 6, the same day North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the East Sea from a location near Tongchang-ri in North Pyongan province.


Click Here for Interactive Signals.

These signal predictions are corroborated by other Beyond Parallel empirical studies of North Korean behavior and events on the Korean peninsula.

  • North Korea responded to the deployment of the Carl Vinson strike group to the West Pacific this week through a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman saying “[North Korea] is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the [United States].”
  • Commercial satellite imagery indicates a flurry of activity around North Korea’s nuclear test site that suggest preparations for a test are underway.
  • April 15 is the Day of the Sun in North Korea, an important public holiday commemorating Kim Il Sung’s birthday. Last year, North Korea celebrated the date with an attempted missile launch. To mark the 100-year anniversary of the founder’s birthday in 2012, North Korea showcased for the first time a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile (the KN-08). Such displays celebrate the success of North Korea and its military strength.
  • Given the negative state of U.S.-North Korea relations thus far this year, the remainder of the spring exercise period is ripe for North Korean provocations. The annual U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises are scheduled to conclude this year at the end of April.