PreData/CSIS Beyond Parallel predictive analytics for North Korean missile tests and WMD activity indicate that the underlying signals for the 14-day prediction window have been trending downward since October 24.
Previously, the missile test and WMD activity signals correctly warned of DPRK provocations based on an elevated signal for the 3-week window from August 31 to September 21, during which the DPRK carried out a sixth nuclear test on September 3 and an intercontinental ballistic missile launch over Japan on September 15.
Dogs that Don’t Bark: Contrary to expectations, North Korea has not yet responded to a number of events that have occurred in the region during the month of October. There were concerns that North Korea would carry out major provocations around the dates of the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of the Worker’s Party of Korea on October 10 and the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China from October 18 to 24. The U.S. and ROK navies also staged a major combined bilateral exercise in the waters east and west of the Korean peninsula from October 17 through 20 that drew fears of a North Korean response. Rather than spiking over this time period, however, the signals have hit their lowest point since February 11, 2017, an approximate time-span of eight months.
Despite North Korea’s track record of ramped up provocations in early 2017, the current signal predictions suggest that North Korean provocations may be less imminent within the next 14-day window for missile tests and WMD activity. The CSIS Beyond Parallel database also suggests North Korea tends to launch fewer numbers of missiles in the months of November, December, and January.
However, President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated trip to Asia from November 3 to 14 could prompt North Korea to carry out provocative actions that are contrary to the downward trending signals. PreData/Beyond Parallel will be tracking these signals in the run-up to the trip.