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Trump’s Shadow Looms Over North Korea’s Satellite Launch Strategy

Daniel Kim Views  

Yonhap News

Amid the failure of North Korea to launch a military reconnaissance satellite on the 27th, there is an analysis that the haste of North Korea to launch the satellite could be in anticipation of potential negotiations if the Trump administration were to be reinstated. In 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and then U.S. President Donald Trump had a historic meeting in Hanoi, but negotiations on denuclearization failed.

The Beyond Parallel website, launched by Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to bring transparency and understanding of Korean unification, stated on the 28th, “North Korea has launched four satellite launch vehicles (SLVs) following numerous ballistic missile tests over the past 12 months.”

CSIS suggested that Kim Jong Un’s decision to expedite the schedule for satellite launch vehicle (SLV) launches might stem from his public pledge to deploy three satellites by the year’s end. This acceleration could be related to forthcoming negotiations with Trump. Such discussions might revolve around a potential moratorium on North Korea’s long-range missile launches in exchange for tacit acceptance of North Korea’s existing nuclear arsenal and a relaxation of sanctions.

This is interpreted as North Korea rushing to launch reconnaissance satellites before the inauguration of a new U.S. administration. Such launches would become impossible if negotiations, including a halt to long-range missile launches, were to take place after the start of Trump’s second term.

CSIS also commented on North Korea’s satellite launch, “This is a clear demonstration of the political importance and ambition Kim Jong Un attributes to reconnaissance satellites. It also shows North Korea invests physical and financial resources in the SLV and satellite development program.”

North Korea’s announcement that it used a new type of rocket in this failed satellite launch likely serves as a political statement indicating substantial progress in the development of satellite launch vehicles. The analysis suggests advancements in the existing Chollima-1 SLV, including modifications to its engine.

North Korea attempted another military reconnaissance satellite launch on the night of the 27th, the day of the summit between Korea, China, and Japan, but it failed. The picture is a video capture, including the explosion of the North Korean claimed military reconnaissance satellite taken by the surveillance equipment of our guard ship in the northwest sea area, released by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the 28th. Photo provided by South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff

Moreover, CSIS predicted that North Korea’s three failures out of four satellite launches over the past year ” are expected in the process of refining launch capabilities. If North Korea learns from these lessons and applies them to improve the design of the Chollima-1, they could produce a reliable SLV by this time next year.”

CSIS also commented on North Korea’s pointing out the reliability of the operation of the newly developed liquid oxygen + petroleum engine as the reason for the satellite launch failure the day before, “It’s not clear what this means.”

They further explained that previous liquid-propellant satellite launch vehicle (SLV) launches utilized liquid oxygen and a specific form of kerosene, typically RP-1. This suggests that North Korea’s statement could indicate that the engine is either new or has undergone significant modifications from previous versions.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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