Why North Korea may not have just developed a cruise missile

North Korean media's track record seemingly ignored in 38 North analysis
June 17th, 2014

Has North Korea just entered “the cruise missile business“? Reading Jeffrey Lewis at 38 North on Tuesday, you might be persuaded to think so.

Citing a few frames of low-resolution footage injected into a 49 minute film broadcast about DPRK military capabilities, Lewis “confirms a surprising fact” – that the missile seen in

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About the Author

Chad O'Carroll

Chad O'Carroll has written on North Korea since 2010 and writes between London and Seoul.

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  • Guest

    I would point out that he does say, “As I have argued before, the implication of new North Korean capabilities is not that Kim Jong Un is crazy or that the KPA is ten-feet-tall, but that Washington needs to work more energetically to engage the North Koreans. I say this fully aware that such engagement is likely to be slow, painful and largely unsatisfying. But it remains necessary.”

    It seems to be a bit of an exaggeration that the Kh-35 is the only reason why Lewis is arguing for engagement. Plus, he’s not the only one urging the White House to engage North Korea.

    • Warren Lauzon

      I don’t think that the current administration has a single clue on how to handle North Korea. While supposedly “rebalancing to Asia”, it seems like they are much more intent on the Middle East. In the long run, despite all the current atrocities going on in Libya and Iraq, I think that Asia and North Korea is a much more important focal point. The Middle East has been unstable for hundreds of years, but North Korea going (more) unstable could end up involving most of the entire region, not to mention putting the West at odds with China.
      As much as people worry about oil in the Middle East, as long as oil Is worth money it will reach the market under whoever the current dictator is, but turmoil in Asia could have much bigger consequences.

  • http://spioenkop.blogspot.com Joskip

    A solid article, but the use of this missiles by North Korea has been confirmed (in fact, for quite some years in private circles). More evidence and information can be found in this article:

    • saveourmoney

      Well put. Mr. O’Carroll can answer for himself, but I perceive his theme as being more about the over reactions and over reaching in the media when the DPRK is seen as having a “new” military capability.

      At the risk of straying off subject, reverse engineering a cruise missile to enable native production isn’t a big deal if you’re North Korea. Propulsion, conventional warhead construction and shaping, and fusing can utilize older technologies and still manifest themselves in an effective weapon. Guidance and steering might be difficult for the DPRK, but not impossible.

      Overreaction to the presence of these weapons could be a greater risk than the weapons themselves.

  • Warren Lauzon

    I totally agree that we should all be skeptical. One reason is that normally when North Korea comes up with something new (to them), they emphasize it in propaganda films, and a blurred 4 second shot looks a bit iffy just for that reason alone. North Korea may in fact have some version of the cruise missile, but that clip alone is not enough to verify it.

  • keve

    When there are claims about North Korea missiles, it was not just a rumor from North Korea. North Korea always delivered when related to military issues. Politically, non-East media, only have rumors or claims often exaggerated with selective heavily filtered information; often this claims or propagandas are almost always to degrade and mock North Korea. Engagement would provide alternative to sanction/censorship. Sanction/Censorship hurt BOTH societies with ignorance promoted by immaturity in media. North Korean and US Citizens deserver better with open information and engagement without the political immaturity. Depending on politicians and media claims to learn about another society……it does NOT get any worse.