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January 1-11, 2023 | Issue 1 - PACOM

Hae Lim Park, Julia Tsarnas, Christie Hui, Christine Saddy

Salomon Montaguth, Editor; Shachi Gokhale, Senior Editor

Kim Jong Un[1]

Date: January 1, 2023

Location: North Korea

Parties involved: North Korea; Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un; North Korean citizens; South Korea; US; UN; Western countries; international community; international organizations

The event: Kim called for an “exponential increase” of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, including the development of a more powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in response to alleged threats from South Korea and the US. He tasked his nuclear program with developing “quick nuclear counterstrike” capabilities for the new ICBMs, which would enable Kim to attack the US mainland.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The North Korean government will likely stockpile uranium stores to develop its arsenal to achieve Kim’s goal of establishing North Korea as a nuclear power. Despite pushback from the US and South Korea, Kim will likely continue weapons testing of nuclear and ICBMs to increase their leverage in future negotiations. Kim will likely attempt to use the increased leverage in negotiations to seek relief from current economic sanctions.

  • The international community will very likely condemn the spread of nuclear weapons and will likely seek diplomatic ways through the UN and other international organizations. This will likely allow Kim to further isolate North Korea from the international community, likely strengthening his influence over the region. The UN will likely increase pressure on North Korea to disarm and abide by international nonproliferation agreements, including revised agreements that likely call for North Korea to halt its plutonium program in exchange for aid. The US, South Korea, and other Western countries will likely increase economic sanctions, which will likely harm the living conditions of North Koreans by restricting access to humanitarian aid.

Date: January 5, 2023

Location: Japan

Parties involved: Japan; Japan Self-Defense Forces; China; Chinese cyberwarfare personnel; Chinese military; North Korea; North Korean cyberwarfare personnel; North Korean military; South Korea; Australia; Western countries; US

The event: Japan revised its National Security Strategy to expand the number of cyber specialists in its Self-Defense Forces from about 890 to about 4,000 members over the next four years. There are 175,000 and 7,000 cyberwarfare personnel in the Chinese and North Korean militaries, respectively.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The significant changes in national security and defense strategies almost certainly reflect the escalating tensions and cyber threats from China and North Korea. Despite this increase, Japan will very likely partner with Western forces, such as the US, for additional support and intelligence sharing. China and North Korea will likely increase cyber attacks against Japan and its Western partners.

  • The Japanese government’s plan to activate its cyber defense almost certainly indicates its intention to strengthen its cyberinfrastructure to withstand external attacks from China or North Korea. Regional powers with strong cybersecurity forces like South Korea and Australia will likely take notice of the public revision of the National Security Strategy and will likely consider the benefits of intelligence cooperation. While South Korea might be reluctant to help due to historical tensions, the joint security threat surpasses their past and both South Korea and Australia will likely share information about cybersecurity tactics and training. The Japanese government will very likely offer incentives to attract recruits, increasing the perceived prestige of cybersecurity in their defense industry.

Date: January 7, 2023

Location: Kawlin, Sagaing, Myanmar

Parties involved: Myanmar; Myanmar junta government; Myanmar junta military; Kawlin Revolution (KR) Team resistance group; Kawlin People’s Defence Force (KLPDF) resistance group

The event: Two female resistance fighters from the KR resistance group blew themselves up with homemade bombs to avoid being searched by Myanmar military soldiers. The suicide attack followed violent clashes in Kawlin between military junta soldiers and the KLPDF resistance group, who are allies with the KR group.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The military regime will likely retaliate to present its authority over the people through aggressive actions like shootings, raids, airstrikes, and arson attacks on innocent civilians, as the suicide attack will likely diminish its authority over the citizens. Unfair imprisonments and investigations on the mass of the population will very likely be pursued to distinguish members of the resistance groups. Mass interrogations will almost certainly lead to human rights violations like the repression of free speech, denial of humanitarian access, unfair trials, displacement, and torture, as women and children will likely be largely affected by the inhumane treatment.

  • Continued attempts to attack women in the resistance will very likely heighten tensions between the military junta and the local population. Targeting women will likely encourage more women to join the resistance and motivate the women of the current resistance to show their ability to withstand all the pressures exerted by the junta. As more women join the resistance group, it will likely lead to significant changes in the country’s democracy and promote women's inclusion in peace and security issues.


[2] NKorea’s Kim orders ‘exponential’ expansion of nuke arsenal, AP, January 2023,

[3] Japan to quadruple cyber defense forces, meeting threats head-on, Nikkei Asia, January 2023,

[4] Women Resistance Fighters Blow Themselves up to Avoid Arrest by Myanmar Junta, Irrawaddy, January 2023,


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