Region of Concern: North Korea, South Korea, United States
Written By Avinash Persaud; Edited by Cameron Munoz and Jennifer Loy
Date: March 9, 2022
Map of Korean Peninsula
Event: Kim Jong Un oversaw a live-fire artillery exercise simulating an attack on a South Korean airfield and ordered his troops to be prepared to counter the enemies’ “frantic war preparation moves.” His simulated exercise targeted an airport on South Korea’s western border. Six rockets were fired from an undetermined coastal area, and the type of weapons used remains unclear. This exercise occurred three days after a series of joint aerial drills between the US and South Korea, which Kim viewed as invasion preparations. Both will soon begin their largest springtime field training exercises to counter North Korea’s continuous threats.
Significance: South Korea will very likely work with the US to improve missile defense capabilities at airports and surrounding areas. They will likely purchase upgraded weapon capabilities from the US, such as fifth generation fighter jets and defense batteries. South Korea will likely end diplomatic relations with North Korea until Kim reintroduces a moratorium on ICBM and nuclear missile tests. North Korea will very likely increase military drills to counter the upcoming field training exercises. It is very likely that North Korea will fire an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on a standard ballistic trajectory into the Yellow Sea or Sea of Japan. China and Russia will very likely veto future US-drafted Security Council resolutions to increase sanctions on North Korea.
Recommendations: The US should increase anti-submarine and ballistic missile defense drills and early warning exercises with both South Korea and Japan. The US should loan South Korea another Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery systems to increase missile defense capabilities at airports and surrounding locations. If North Korea sends a representative to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in August 2023, South Korea should work with ARF members to introduce an economic package to improve diplomatic relations with North Korea. To prevent the tourism industry from an economic decline, South Korea should improve communication with airline companies to enhance flight and passenger safety by redirecting flights away from potential landing sites of North Korean missiles. South Korea should increase emergency preparedness drills to ensure civilians make the correct safety decisions during a potential North Korean attack. The US should increase maritime patrols of the region to ensure that future North Korean missile launches do not interfere with international shipping lanes.
 Kim supervises N. Korean troops simulating attack on South, Associated Press, March 2023 https://apnews.com/article/north-korea-kim-jong-un-artillery-nuclear-058911e8dc87620ba994988099a665b4
 North Korea's Kim says military carried out 'simulated drills for real war,' The Japan Times, March 2023, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/03/10/asia-pacific/north-korea-missiles-launches-simulation/
 Kim Jong Un’s sister warns North Korea ready to act against the U.S. and South Korea, Los Angeles Times, March 2023, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2023-03-06/kim-jong-uns-sister-warns-north-korea-ready-to-act-against-the-u-s-and-south-korea