"This is really imaginative or creative thinking about using rockets," says Choi, a former director of the National Security Council of South Korea and now vice president of the Asan Political Research Institute, a famous conservative think tank in Seoul.
Before resuming ballistic missile testing in May, North Korea had not tested a single rocket since November 2017. This break was a decisive factor in helping to create the right conditions for the first meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim. Chen Un in June 2018
Trump and Kim have met on two other occasions since then, but little progress appears to have been made between the two countries. Trump downplayed the importance of North Korea's recent boom in missile testing, highlighting the fact that Kim has agreed to stop testing larger-range missiles and nuclear bombs. The launches, however, violate UN Security Council resolutions and threaten South Korea and Japan.
"I think Kim Jong Un is quite right with me," President Trump told reporters on August 23. "And we will see what happens, we will see what happens. He likes to test missiles, but we've never restricted short range missiles, we'll see what happens. Many nations are testing these missiles. "
Some warn that these new capabilities can be applied. for longer range missiles that can reach the continental United States.
"It seems to me that North Korea has a very, very strong root rocket capability and … (is) capable of deploying all missiles for a very short period of time, "Choi stated.
Pointing the gap
is North Korea put in place its detained weapons program for 17 months to allow negotiations, but hiatus was interrupted on May 4 when it tested a new weapons system.
The target for the launch, reported by state media in North Korea, is "to test the performance and accuracy of the impact of multi-caliber rocket launchers with multi-caliber long-range weapons and tactical guided weapons."
This alone was sufficient to cause rapid concern, but most telling Jeriah test came only days in July.
Then North Korea launched a series of short-range missiles at altitudes predominantly between 25 kilometers and 16 kilometers at various distances between 220 kilometers (137 miles) and 600 kilometers (373 miles) from multiple launch sites.
The altitude of the missile tested affects Choi and other experts as they indicate that North Korea appears to be targeting a gulf in two missile defense systems – the Patriot Missile Defense System and the High Altitude Terminal Defense (THAAD).
The THAAD system targets missiles 50 to 150 kilometers (31 to 93 miles) high, while the Patriot system covers 30 kilometers (19 miles) and below, according to Choi. South Korea is developing something to cover the gap.
Kim Dong-yub, an analyst at the Far East Research Institute at Seung Kungnam University, said that the missiles tested could evade South Korean missile defense systems because at those heights,
analysts in South Korea would test -there are three types of new weapons: a multi-caliber multiple-launch rocket system, the North Korean equivalent of the Russian Iskander and a "new weapon" tested on August 10, which has flown about 400 kilometers.
It is unclear whether the latest missiles North Korea has tested are designed to carry nuclear warheads or other weapons.
"Nuclear or not … these are missiles that threaten our two most important allies and our main allies in Northeast Asia," said retired US Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, a former U.S. Army commander in Korea. "This must be something the United States is drawn to."
Brooks commands nearly 650,000 US and South Korean troops making up ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, from April 2016 to November 2018, is one of the most active periods on the Korean Peninsula in recent memory.
Tense relations end in North Korea, testing intercontinental ballistic missiles on November 28, 2017, which Pyongyang said could reach the continental United States. After that rocket launch, Brooks began cautiously counting down the days until the next test. He continued to do so after retiring and overseeing the development of the Korean Peninsula from his home in Austin, Texas. His number stopped at 520 days on May 4.
While analysts fear North Korea's recent military improvements, Brooks expressed confidence in the Alliance's ability to protect the peninsula, though it refused to reveal specific defense capabilities. He also said the tests make it easier for the US and its allies to "understand the capabilities" of Pyongyang's weapons systems.
"I'm sure the military commands in and out of Korea are wondering what exactly we can do about it," Brooks said. While his number of days without provocation has been delayed, Brooks is still hoping for a peaceful solution.
] "We long for the days when Korea can be free from outside influences that prevent them from defining their own path; I long for the days when Korea can be united, and I want them to do so and I'll be honest that that's where my heart is, "he said.