Wed, Nov 15, 2017 - Page 6 News List

North Korea winter training to thank for fewer missiles


North Korea has not fired a missile for 60 days, but that might have more to do with its own winter training cycle than with Pyongyang easing off on provocations.

Since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took power, only five of the nation’s 85 rocket launches have taken place in the October-to-December quarter, according to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies’ North Korea missile test database.

The Korean People’s Army regularly enters its training cycle every winter “and getting ready for it involves a calm before the storm,” said Van Jackson, a strategy fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

“Fall is the harvest season and a lot of military labor is dedicated to agricultural output when not in war mode; inefficient, but it’s the nature of the North Korean system,” Jackson said. “It’s a routine, recurring pattern, which means we should expect a surge in provocations in the early months next year.”

Joseph Yun, the US’ top North Korean official, was reported by the Washington Post as saying on Oct. 30 that if the regime halted nuclear and missile testing for about 60 days, it would be the signal Washington needs to resume direct dialog with Pyongyang.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday denied the US had any such window.

South Korea’s military on Monday said it is keeping its troops on full combat readiness, Yonhap News reported.

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