What is the so called missile programme of North Korea? While explaining the international concerns regarding its recent missile launch using solid fuel technology, discuss reactions of the international community regarding the same.

In the past 13 months, North Korea has completed two nuclear tests and has launched more than 20 ballistic missiles. North Korea has approximately 1,000 missiles of varying capabilities. It has even vowed to develop inter-continental missile to strike US in the future.
Recently, North Korea has successfully launched medium range ballistic missile. It has already tested a dozen missiles. Unlike its other long range missiles that use liquid fuels, this time North Korea has tested missile using solid fuel. The problem with the liquid fuels is they require a large number of support vehicles to support the launch vehicle. This will help the enemy to detect the missile in time and launch a pre-emptive strike. But, the solid fuel reduces this vulnerability. Solid fuels facilitate missile launches with minimal preparation. It is considered as a major step forward for North Korea.
Secondly, the launch vehicle used in carrying the missile has been developed indigenously and uses a caterpillar track rather than wheels with tyres. This is an improvement as North Korea has been using imported and modified foreign-made trucks to transports and launch missiles. Also, the caterpillar track will help in taking the missiles off-road making it difficult to predict the imminent missile launches.
Reaction of International community
North Korea conducts its missile launches in defiance to the UN Security Council resolutions. The UN Security council has already imposed a lot of sanctions over North Korea. Every missile launch of North Korea has triggered worldwide condemnation particularly from South Korea, Japan and US. But neither sanctions nor warnings have made North Korea to stop conducting missile tests.
With already sanctions are in place and the regime isolated, US has not responded like how it did in Iran’s case. As North Korea is a nuclear power, the option of war is ruled out. North Korea is in a position that it could easily target the allies of US in East Asia.

Question for UPSC Mains:
What is the so called missile programme of North Korea? While explaining the international concerns regarding its recent missile launch using solid fuel technology, discuss reactions of the international community regarding the same.

Published: March 5, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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