Home Commentary and Analysis Why We Should Want North Korea to Fire Missiles into the Sea
Why We Should Want North Korea to Fire Missiles into the Sea

Why We Should Want North Korea to Fire Missiles into the Sea


By James Lint
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Military University
Senior Editor for
 In Cyber Defense and Contributor, In Homeland Security

Recently, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stated he would fire test missiles every week. “We’ll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis,” Vice-Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol told the BBC’s John Sudworth in a recent interview.

‘Day of the Sun’ Parade Showed North Korea’s Military Power

On April 15, North Korea held a “Day of the Sun” parade to celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, grandfather of the current leader and founder of the Democratic Republic of Korea. The parade, which featured a massive number of military vehicles, troops and equipment, was reminiscent of the old Soviet May Day parades.

This display of military vehicles and equipment was designed to instill North Korean citizens’ confidence and pride in their government leadership. It also was intended to show other countries – including North Korea’s neighbors – the military strength of North Korea.

However, it is tough to show off the excellence of your war materiel when it is paraded on foreign-made trucks. Reuters reported that North Korea used Chinese-made vehicles to display the missiles, underscoring the difficulty of enforcing United Nations’ sanctions against this isolated nation.

Reuters further noted that the logo of the Chinese firm Sinotruk could be clearly seen on the transport vehicles. That shows that North Korea continues to receive parade-quality equipment from China.

Mock Missiles on Chinese-Made Trucks Did Not Frighten the West

The military equipment on Chinese trucks did not arouse fear in the West. But it did provoke a call for China to better control its neighbor, who is gaining an ever-increasing supply of missiles with nuclear capability.

It is unlikely, however, that actual armed missiles were shown during the parade. “No nation in the world develops missiles and shows the real thing during a parade; it’s just too dangerous,” says Markus Schiller, a weapons expert with German technology company ST Analytics. Schiller told CNN that parades always involve “mock-ups.” He noted, “If anything happens, it blows up, right next to the ‘Dear Leader.'”

Routine Missile Firing Depletes North Korea’s Nuclear Stockpile

North Korea often fires test missiles into the sea. Problems with fuses, flight mechanics and engines can occur when missiles are in storage too long; aging rockets degrade if they are not used.

Most of North Korea’s missiles are short-range; Pyongyang does not have many long-range missiles. North Korea tests its long-range missiles to create an impact in international relations. Scientists have yet to determine the impact of these same missiles on aquatic life.

I hope that North Korea will continue to test fire its best missiles. This practice slowly depletes North Korea’s stockpile of missiles.

The more tests North Korea conducts, the more missiles the country loses. That development is good news for the residents of South Korea and the U.S. bases in South Korea and Japan.

About the Author

James R. Lint recently retired as the (GG-15) civilian director for intelligence and security, G2, U.S. Army Communications Electronics Command. He is an adjunct professor at AMU. James has been involved in cyberespionage events from just after the turn of the century in Korea supporting 1st Signal Brigade to the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis as the first government cyber intelligence analyst. He has 38 years of experience in military intelligence with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, government contracting and civil service.

Additionally, James started the Lint Center for National Security Studies, a nonprofit charity that recently awarded its 45th scholarship for national security students and professionals. James was also elected as the 2015 national vice president for the Military Intelligence Corps Association. He has also served in the Department of Energy’s S&S Security Office after his active military career in the Marine Corps for seven years and 14 years in the Army. His military assignments include South Korea, Germany and Cuba, in addition to numerous CONUS locations. James has authored a book published in 2013, “Leadership and Management Lessons Learned,” a book published in 2016 “8 Eyes on Korea, A Travel Perspective of Seoul, Korea,” and a new book published in 2017 Secrets to Getting a Federal Government Job.”