Analyst: North Korea's MRLS missiles have nuclear capabilities

North Korea released images of missiles following projectile tests on Monday. Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE
North Korea released images of missiles following projectile tests on Monday. Photo by KCNA/EPA-EFE

March 11 (UPI) -- North Korean projectiles launched from multiple rocket launch systems are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, thereby posing a definite threat to South Korea, according to an analyst.

Cha Doo-hyun, a researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said in an article published Wednesday the purpose of North Korea's MRLS is not a nuclear weapons attack, South Korean news service Newsis reported.


That does not mean nuclear warfare cannot be ruled out. The weapons system described as being of "super-large caliber" by North Korean state media is a "definite threat" to South Korea because of its short-range capabilities. Cha also said it is less likely the MRLS is capable of intermediate or long-range strike capabilities, according to the report.

North Korea fired three short-range missiles on Monday. Each projectile flew about 125 miles, according to Seoul.

Cha said Wednesday Pyongyang went ahead with banned testing to reinforce perceptions Kim Jong Un is still in charge.

"With the [Monday] launch of its multiple rocket launch system, North Korea showed to its people and the outside world that its leader's words are not simply open declarations, while avoiding further sanctions or a U.S. military response," the South Korean analyst said.


Cha also said the postponed U.S.-South Korea military exercises due to the coronavirus outbreak have "distorted the timetables" for regular training. A new schedule is needed, Cha said.

Joseph Dempsey, a research associate for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the images North Korea released of the Monday tests do indicate the MRLS, also known as the KN-25, was deployed.

"This latest test comes just one week after North Korea fired two projectiles from a KN-25 near Wonsan," Dempsey wrote in an analysis published on 38 North.

Dempsey also said the interval of time between projectile firings has generally decreased.

"The initial tests of the KN-25 took over 20 minutes between firings. However, during last week's launch, that interval was only 20 seconds," the analyst wrote.

"This rate was replicated between two of the projectiles in Monday's series as well."

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