North Korea Goes All Out on Missile Tests
North Korea has performed several missile tests in recent weeks, showcasing technology new for the rogue nation. Pyongyang claims to have tested a hypersonic missile on September 28. A few days later, the North Korean government tested an anti-aircraft missile. This all followed successful tests earlier in the month of a potentially nuclear cruise missile. But it’s the hypersonic missile that is most worrying.
Ballistic missiles work by flying into outer space. They then attack their targets from steep angles. Cruise missiles zero in on their targets by flying very close to the ground, too low for most radar systems. Hypersonic missiles are similar to cruise missiles. Like cruise missiles, they hug the ground to avoid radar detection. But the average American Tomahawk cruise missile can travel 550 miles per hour. Hypersonic missiles can travel 3,850 miles per hour. That’s over five times the speed of sound. Hypersonic missiles are designed to carry nuclear payloads. They can also change trajectory mid-flight, complicating interception.
Pyongyang’s hypersonic missile is unlikely to start a nuclear war any time soon. South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff stated the missile’s “speed and other features” suggest it’s at “an early stage of development that would require considerable time for actual deployment.” Chang Young-keun, a missile specialist from the Korea Aerospace University, said that “the North’s [hypersonic gliding vehicle technology] is not comparable to those of the U.S., Russia or China and for now seems to aim for short-range that can target South Korea or Japan.”
Even if the missile isn’t state-of-the-art, its test is concerning for another reason. It suggests outside powers are helping Pyongyang build its nuclear missile program.
“How would an isolated pariah, strangled behind some of the most strict embargoes and international sanctions, develop missile technology to match only a handful of industrially sophisticated nations?” asked the Telegraph in a September 30 article. “North Korea has no record of testing hypersonic weapons or vehicles, a necessary prerequisite for fielding missiles, and it lacks the hypersonic wind tunnels needed to do so. … For a North Korean regime, with no record of testing hypersonic capabilities and limited technical know-how, to have fielded such a missile without external help stretches the realms of credibility.”
But who could have helped North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un with this? There are three countries that are prime suspects.
China and Russia are North Korea’s main financial sponsors. They also stand up for Kim in the United Nations. Both Beijing and Moscow have hypersonic missiles in their arsenals. The Telegraph suggested that “at least one of these actors would likely have been necessary.”
But another country to watch is Iran.
Both North Korea and Iran are pariah states on bad terms with the United States and are under heavy U.S. sanctions. Both have nuclear weapons programs that get them in trouble with the United Nations. Both are desperate for economic partners. This makes them natural allies. And they’ve been cooperating with each other’s weapons programs for years. “Frequently on the fringes of international diplomacy, North Korea and Iran have long had a secretive, mutually beneficial relationship,” Bloomberg wrote on February 8.
Iran does have a hypersonic wind tunnel. North Korea would have needed some sort of access to such to develop the technology. As a pariah state, Iran is the more likely culprit to have provided the technology.
A February report from the UN demonstrates that Iran-North Korea cooperation is flourishing. The report suggests North Korean missile specialists have been helping develop space launch technology in Iran. Pyongyang is also implicated in some undisclosed shipments to Iran. “This resumed cooperation is said to have included the transfer of critical parts, with the most recent shipment associated with this relationship taking place in 2020,” the report read.
“Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs have long depended on external assistance from other states,” writes the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran. “North Korea, a country notorious for its extensive illicit export of ballistic missiles and related technology, has proved a particularly valuable partner.” Pyongyang has had a rogue nuclear weapons program for years. It has helped Tehran out in developing its own.
Iran could have been returning the favor by giving access to hypersonic technology.
Iran isn’t the only potential source for North Korea’s hypersonic technological development. But it’s a plausible source. And if confirmed, it means two aggressive and unpredictable pariah states are building up each other’s nuclear programs.
And both have good reason to use their nukes. Iran has often declared its intent to wipe Israel, the “little Satan,” off the map. And North Korea is still technically at war with South Korea, which is a military heavyweight itself.
We live in a dangerous and unstable world.
This brings to mind a prophecy Jesus Christ gave right before His crucifixion. Speaking to His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Christ said that, at the end of man’s age, “there would be sore misery then, such as has never been, from the beginning of the world till now—no and never shall be. Had not those days been cut short, not a soul would be saved alive” (Matthew 24:21-22; Moffatt). Elsewhere in this prophecy, Christ describes this “sore misery” as involving “wars and rumours of wars” (verse 6) and “armies” that cause “desolation” (Luke 21:20).
Mankind has never been in an era where armies could wipe out every human being. That is, until weapons of mass destruction—like nuclear missiles—were invented.
North Korea and Iran are signs that this prophecy is about to be fulfilled.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his free booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door’:
Kim Jong-un shares his nuclear power with Iran, the number one terrorist-sponsoring nation in the world—by far! And Iran has a religious leader that is even more “bizarre in the extreme … a weird, utterly ruthless and highly erratic god-king.” He believes that a nuclear catastrophe would even hasten the coming of his messiah to rule the world! …
These two men have changed the nuclear equation in this world. They relish the idea of a nuclear war!
To learn more, please request a free copy of Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door’.