N. Korea puts mis­sile launches on hold


Tokyo: North Korea hasn’t fired a mis­sile for 60 days, but that may have more to do with its own win­ter train­ing cy­cle than with Pyongyang eas­ing off on provo­ca­tions. Since Kim Jong-un took power in late 2011, only five of the iso­lated na­tion’s 85 rocket launches have taken place in the Oc­to­ber-de­cem­ber quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to The James Martin Cen­ter for Non-pro­lif­er­a­tion 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 labour is ded­i­cated to agri­cul­tural out­put when not in war mode; in­ef­fi­cient, but it’s the na­ture of the North Korean sys­tem,” said Jack­son, a for­mer US depart­ment of de­fence ad­viser. “It’s a rou­tine, re­cur­ring pat­tern, which means we should ex­pect a surge in provo­ca­tions in the early months next year.” BLOOMBERG

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