Under Kim Jong Un's leadership, North Korea aims to empower its nuclear arsenal by adding 242 nuke missiles and dozens of mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles in the next six years, according to a report.
North Korea would have 242 nuclear weapons together with dozens of mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2027, according to a joint report by Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies and the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, California.
The report warned the dialogue efforts alone are likely to be ineffective in reducing threats from North Korea, and suggested a measure of deploying tactical nuclear weapons in the Republic of Korea(ROK), the official name of South Korea.
Due to the lack of political and economic means, as well its limitations as a conventional military, North Korea has been focusing on developing nuclear weapons for more than 30 years.
The report said that the North Korean regime develops nuclear weapons as a means to achieving the following three goals: “1) ensure regime survival and maintain absolute control over its territory; 2) pursue unification with ROK under North Korea’s leadership, as the existence of a free and affluent ROK threatens the regime; and 3) challenge the US dominance and avoid overdependence on China by becoming a regional great power.”
After the first nuclear test in 2006, North Korea has been steadily advancing its nuclear capability and long-range ballistic missile technology, especially during current Kim Jong Un’s leadership.
The report estimates that North Korea had obtained 30-36kg of plutonium and 175-645 kg of enriched uranium as of 2019.
Based on these numbers, “the total number of North Korea’s nuclear weapons by 2027 would be between 151 and 242, in addition to tens of mobile Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs),” the report forecasted.
With its nuclear arsenal, North Korea’s strategy has been focused on deterrence by retaliation, as well as decoupling the US from its regional allies of South Korea and Japan.
North Korea would escalate tension to full-scale nuclear war which will devastate the Korean Peninsula, as well as the Asia-Pacific region.
Furthermore, the dictatorship could use its nuclear arsenal not only against US bases in the Asia-Pacific region and Japan, but also on American mainland, too.
The report suggested the US and South Korea should be ready to defeat North Korea.
“The allies should destroy and neutralise North Korea’s nuclear and missile bases, facilities, and command and communication facilities to prevent it from using nuclear tipped missiles,” the report reads.
The alliance “should augment the intelligence capability tracking the positions of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, missiles, and its leadership– including Kim Jong Un– by enhancing and organically linking surveillance satellites, aircrafts, and drones.”
Moreover, human intelligence should be used to go beyond sources coming from sensor-controlled intelligence.
The report also suggested some strategic options to deter North Korea, including “dedicating US strategic nuclear weapons and nuclear platforms to targeting North Korea; deploying the planned US intermediate-range ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons in or near the ROK; and deploying tactical nuclear weapons in Korea.”