North Korea Fine Tunes its Precision Strike Capabilities Amidst Pandemic

On March 29, 2020 at 6:10 am KST, North Korea launched two projectiles speculated to be short-range ballistic missiles from the Wonsan area in Kangwon province into the sea between Korea and Japan. The missiles traveled a distance of 230 kilometers (143 miles) and reached a peak altitude of 30 kilometers (19 miles).  An announcement published in North Korean state media the following day confirmed that the two missiles were launched as part of super-large multiple rocket launcher tests. It also stated the test was carried out by the Academy of Defence Science.

  • This launch puts North Korea ahead of the pace it set in the “Fire and Fury” year of 2017 for Q1 2020.
  • Despite Kim Jong-un’s absence from the test, it shows that he does not feel bound by any testing moratorium.
  • Beyond Parallel data shows that North Korea tests more missiles in a U.S. presidential election year and we can expect more to come.
  • The launch may also be interpreted as a positioning tactic to look strong in advance of receiving humanitarian assistance related to COVID-19.
Photograph published by North Korean state media of the March 29, 2020 super-large multiple rocket launcher test. (Source: KCNA)