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North Korea’s latest missiles launches were tests in self-defense, according to state-owned news agency KCNA

Oct 11, 2022

Drills of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on October 6 and 8 were to stage military exercises in neutralizing a potential antagonistic provocation. This also follows US-led military exercises that have been performed in the Asian region recently.

Kim Jong Un, general secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and chairman of the Central Military Commission of the WPK, instructed the military drills and members of the Party Central Military Commission observed the exercises. The development of tactical nuclear weapons has long been a high priority for Jong Un. During the party’s congress in January last year, the issue was at the top of the agenda.

With Asia's increased importance on the global stage in the form of security-related and economic issues, military capacity and defense has been highly prioritized, as well as extended presence of great powers in the region. It should thus be North Korea's interest to demonstrate its capacity and political stance. The missile drills may not make very much sense in a Western narrative nor in the context of foreign policy. However, it could play a significant within Pyongyang’s domestic policy. In the present context, the drills could likely be part of keeping North Korean “status quo”, asserting military capability and maintaining regime stability during increased and shifting geopolitical tensions. Shooting missiles whenever it feels likes has been an unchanged tactic from Pyongyang in the last few decades.