December 17, 2019, by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Victor Cha—
While speculation (sometimes wild) continues to grow concerning a North Korean end-of-year “surprise,” Beyond Parallel is continuing its recent series of surveys of the North’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) facilities to determine if there are any new developments. It is our desire to provide objective and factual information to enable decision-makers, policymakers and the general public to better understand the important aspects of the threat posed by North Korea and provide assistance to all in arriving at calm and informed decisions. Our recent surveys include the Sinpo South Shipyard, Sohae Satellite Launching Station, Nampo Submersible Test Stand Barge and Magunpo Solid Rocket Motor Test Stand.
December 14, 2019, by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Victor Cha—
The submersible test stand barge located at the Nampo Navy Shipyard on the west coast of North Korea is likely capable of conducting a SLBM test launch at any time... The submersible test stand barge located at the Nampo Navy Shipyard on the west coast…
December 13, 2019, by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Victor Cha—
The Magunpo Solid Rocket Motor Test Facility is located a few kilometers west of the Hamhung-Hungnam area and along the east coast of North Korea. December 6 imagery shows minor activity at the facility, including the presence of a small truck and some crates. Although no recent test appears to have taken place (i.e., absence of scarring in the exhaust deflector and healthy surrounding vegetation), the facility appears to be well-maintained and ready for solid rocket motor testing at any time.
A successful test of solid fuel propellant engine, particularly at the east test stand, would denote another major advancement in survivable nuclear weapons capability, and would presumably also be designed to put additional pressure on the U.S. to make concessions in negotiations.
December 4, 2019, by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Victor Cha—
There is no evidence that the “newly built submarine” inspected by Kim Jong-un on July 23, 2019 has been launched. While many media sources have described this new submarine as an imminent threat, it is more accurate to describe it as an emerging threat. The large canopy constructed during late-August and early-September that conceals much of the submarine dock precludes confirmation that the existing SINPO-class experimental ballistic missile submarine (SSBA) is present.
October 17, 2019, by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Victor Cha—
Analysis of satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility acquired during 2019 and more specifically on September 23rd and October 9th, 2019 shows the facility in caretaker status, likely being maintained by security personnel. While there is no evidence of current efforts to restore any of the nuclear test portals, several observations lead us to believe the facility has not been permanently disabled and that the detonations in May 2018 are not necessarily irreversible.
October 9, 2019, by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
The October 2, 2019 Pukguksong-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test launch has raised concerns over the forthcoming launch of North Korea’s first true ballistic missile submarine (SSB) as described in the Beyond Parallel Snapshot, which was published the same day.
October 2, 2019, by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
Around 7:11 am on October 2 (KST), North Korea launched what may have been a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) from waters northeast of the Wonsan, Kangwon Province area into the sea between Korea and Japan. The last Beyond Parallel report on the Sinpo South Shipyard indicated the possibility of ongoing preparations for a launch.
August 22, 2019, by Victor Cha—
The South Korean government announcement of its intention not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) represents escalation of the Japan-Korea dispute after each side removed the other from preferential trading arrangements (so-called "whitelists").
August 2, 2019, by Victor Cha and Dana Kim—
Three projectile launches, all within the past eight days, demonstrate North Korea’s intention to perfect its short-range strike capabilities, guidance systems, and solid fuel development... North Korea conducted three separate tests that launched two projectiles each on July 25 (KN-23…
July 2, 2019, by Victor Cha and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.—
As the first sitting president in U.S. history to step into North Korea, Donald Trump’s action could be seen as a significant representation of the U.S. intention eventually to conclude a peace treaty... As the first sitting president in U.S. history to step into North Korea, Donald Trump’s…