Japan Article 9 Daily Updates

North Korea threatens Japan

Cimbala & Korb, 4-17, 22, Stephen J. Cimbala is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Brandywine; Lawrence J. Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Nuclear Proliferation Is Not the Answer to the War in Ukraine, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nuclear-proliferation-not-answer-war-ukraine-201862

China’s growing military power presents potential threats to U.S. allies in the Indo-Pacific region, including Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Japan and South Korea are also threatened by North Korea’s expanding nuclear arsenal. North Korea has already tested long-range missiles that could reach the continental United States. Until now, South Korea and Japan have relied on the American nuclear umbrella to deter coercive nuclear diplomacy or preemptive first strikes. But some in Seoul have already expressed doubts, in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, that South Korea can fend off North Korea without its own nuclear arsenal.

China engaging in strategic nuclear modernization

Cimbala & Korb, 4-17, 22, Stephen J. Cimbala is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Brandywine; Lawrence J. Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Nuclear Proliferation Is Not the Answer to the War in Ukraine, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nuclear-proliferation-not-answer-war-ukraine-201862

In the Indo-Pacific region, nuclear weapons have already spread widely. Russia, China, North Korea, India, and Pakistan all possess nuclear weapons, increasing the risk that one will cross the nuclear threshold should a conventional war threaten their national survival. The situation is made more unpredictable by the growing sophistication in these powers’ conventional forces. China’s military-strategic competency has improved by leaps and bounds; its land-based missile, naval, and air forces have rapidly grown their offensive and defensive capabilities and improved their command and control, communications, reconnaissance, surveillance, and real-time decisionmaking. China’s anti-access, area denial “bubble” now extends well beyond disputed islands in the South China Sea, and Beijing’s growing capabilities for space maneuver and for cyber operations already pose imminent risks for U.S. defense planners and war fighters. Alongside this conventional buildup, China is growing its nuclear arsenal of land-based strategic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and long-range bombers. Some experts project that China will be able to deploy 1,000 or more warheads on strategic launch systems as early as 2030.

Conventional weapons more likely to deter

Cimbala & Korb, 4-17, 22, Stephen J. Cimbala is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Brandywine; Lawrence J. Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Nuclear Proliferation Is Not the Answer to the War in Ukraine, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nuclear-proliferation-not-answer-war-ukraine-201862

States may not gain much from going nuclear, even if they live in a dangerous regional neighborhood and fear aggression or coercion from one or more of their neighbors. The threshold for the use of nuclear weapons is quite high, and most military coercion takes place at lower levels. Advanced conventional weapons, including smart drones, long-range precision strike missiles, and network-centric battle management may be as important in deterring prospective attackers as is a small nuclear arsenal. For countries such as Japan, South Korea, or Australia, for example, building and deploying next-generation conventional weapons, along with regional cooperation and U.S. support, could pay greater dividends in deterrence than joining the growing list of nuclear weapons states. Conventional weapons often deter because they can actually win a war at an acceptable cost, whereas nuclear weapons only deter if the threat of use—and prospect of mutual annihilation—is credible.

Lack of survivability means proliferation more likely to produce war than deterrence

Cimbala & Korb, 4-17, 22, Stephen J. Cimbala is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Penn State University, Brandywine; Lawrence J. Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Nuclear Proliferation Is Not the Answer to the War in Ukraine, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/nuclear-proliferation-not-answer-war-ukraine-201862

Considering the downside costs of regional nuclear arms races—including massive financial costs, increased risks of proliferation or accidents, and potential sanctions—it is doubtful that any state in the Middle East or the Indo-Pacific will improve their security by developing nuclear weapons. Instead, a growing number of states with small- or medium-sized nuclear arsenals will create more anxieties about the first-strike vulnerability of those forces. Few of these prospective nuclear weapons states can afford a fleet of ballistic missile submarines, currently the most survivable platforms among operationally deployed launch systems. These countries will therefore depend almost exclusively on aircraft or missiles that are less survivable and require their commanders to preempt their opponents. More states will deploy more forces, fears of a surprise attack will multiply, and the need for survivable counter-strike capabilities will lead to more nuclear weapons deployed on a “hair trigger.”

Although Russia’s war against Ukraine might lead some to conclude that nukes are a prescription for safety, the opposite is more likely to be true. Nuclear deterrence in a post-post-Cold War world is less dependable than it was during the Cold War because: first, the stability provided by U.S.-Soviet strategic nuclear bipolarity is gone; second, some hot zones such as Asia are already overcrowded with nuclear state actors whose leaders have no democratic accountability; and, third, leaders with or without nuclear weapons are perfectly willing to act in ways that some might judge as “irrational” according to their own definitions of victory. In this environment, nuclear guarantees might turn from deterrents into black holes.

North Korea threat

Hying Jin-Kim, 4-16, 22, The Hill, North Korea says it tested new tactical guided weapon, https://thehill.com/news/wire/3270821-north-korea-says-it-tested-new-tactical-guided-weapon/

North Korea said Sunday it has successfully test-fired a newly developed tactical guided weapon, the latest in a spate of launches that came just after the country passed its biggest state anniversary without an expected military parade, which it typically uses to unveil provocative weapons systems. The latest testing activity came amid concerns that North Korea may soon conduct a larger provocation like a nuclear explosive test in an effort to expand the country’s nuclear arsenal and increase pressure on its rivals amid stalled diplomacy. The official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un observed the launch, which it said would bolster the effective operation of the country’s tactical nuclear forces and firepower of its long-range artillery corps. The dispatch suggested the weapon tested is likely capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, but KCNA didn’t elaborate. It also didn’t say when and where the launch occurred. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement Sunday that it had detected two projectile launches from the North’s eastern coastal town of Hamhung early Saturday evening. It said the projectiles flew about 110 kilometers (68 miles) at an apogee of 25 kilometers (16 miles) and at a maximum speed of Mach 4. The statement said South Korean and U.S. intelligence authorities are analyzing additional details of the launches. It said South Korean officials separately held an emergency meeting to discuss the launches. North Korea has started this year with a slew of weapons tests, including its first flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile since 2017. South Korean and U.S. officials said Pyongyang could soon launch additional provocations like another ICBM test, a rocket launch to put a spy satellite into orbit or even a nuclear test explosion that would be the seventh of its kind. South Korea’s military said it has detected signs that North Korea is rebuilding tunnels at a nuclear testing ground it partially dismantled weeks before it entered now-dormant nuclear talks with the United States in 2018. Sunday’s KCNA dispatch quoted Kim as presenting unspecified tasks to boost North Korea’s nuclear fighting and military capability after praising what he called successive progress in its efforts to reinforce the country’s war deterrence power. On Friday, Kim attended a massive civilian parade in Pyongyang that marked the milestone 110th birth anniversary of his state-founding grandfather, Kim Il Sung. It appeared the country passed its biggest holiday without an expected military parade to showcase its new weapons systems.

Allied rearmament needed to challenge China

Beckley & Brands, March 14, 2022, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2022-03-14/return-pax-americana, MICHAEL BECKLEY is Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2022-03-14/return-pax-american HAL BRANDS is Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of The Twilight Struggle: What the Cold War Teaches Us About Great-Power Rivalry Today.

The United States should spend roughly five percent of GDP on defense over the coming decade.

Economic power goes only so far, however, so the democratic world also needs a rapid multilateral rearmament program to shore up a military balance that has been eroding in Europe and the Indo-Pacific. This will include enhanced forward deployments of well-armed forces—especially armor and airpower in eastern Europe and a thicket of shooters and sensors in the western Pacific—that can turn attempted land grabs into protracted, bloody quagmires. A rapid ramping up of detailed operational planning on how the United States and key allies, such as Australia and Japan, would respond to Chinese aggression is also necessary. The United States and its major allies should also allow for arms transfers to potential frontline states, such as Poland and Taiwan, conditional on them committing to major increases in defense spending and adopting military strategies suited to buying time for a larger multilateral response.

China’s authoritarian dominances threatens the global order and is militarizing Asia

MICHAEL BECKLEY is is Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the author of Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower., March/April 2022,https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2021-02-14/china-new-world-order-enemies-my-enemy,  Enemies of My Enemy How Fear of China Is Forging a New World Order

The international order is falling apart, and everyone seems to know how to fix it. According to some, the United States just needs to rededicate itself to leading the liberal order it helped found some 75 years ago. Others argue that the world’s great powers should form a concert to guide the international community into a new age of multipolar cooperation. Still others call for a grand bargain that divides the globe into stable spheres of influence. What these and other visions of international order have in common is an assumption that global governance can be designed and imposed from the top down. With wise statesmanship and ample summitry, the international jungle can be tamed and cultivated. Conflicts of interest and historical hatreds can be negotiated away and replaced with win-win cooperation. The history of international order, however, provides little reason for confidence in top-down, cooperative solutions. The strongest orders in modern history—from Westphalia in the seventeenth century to the liberal international order in the twentieth—were not inclusive organizations working for the greater good of humanity. Rather, they were alliances built by great powers to wage security competition against their main rivals. Fear and loathing of a shared enemy, not enlightened calls to make the world a better place, brought these orders together. Progress on transnational issues, when achieved, emerged largely as a byproduct of hardheaded security cooperation. That cooperation usually lasted only as long as a common threat remained both present and manageable. When that threat dissipated or grew too large, the orders collapsed. Today, the liberal order is fraying for many reasons, but the underlying cause is that the threat it was originally designed to defeat—Soviet communism—disappeared three decades ago. None of the proposed replacements to the current order have stuck because there hasn’t been a threat scary or vivid enough to compel sustained cooperation among the key players Until now. Through a surge of repression and aggression, China has frightened countries near and far. It is acting belligerently in East Asia, trying to carve out exclusive economic zones in the global economy, and exporting digital systems that make authoritarianism more effective than ever. For the first time since the Cold War, a critical mass of countries face serious threats to their security, welfare, and ways of life—all emanating from a single source. Stay informed. In-depth analysis delivered weekly. This moment of clarity has triggered a flurry of responses. China’s neighbors are arming themselves and aligning with outside powers to secure their territory and sea-lanes. Many of the world’s largest economies are collectively developing new trade, investment, and technology standards that implicitly discriminate against China. Democracies are gathering to devise strategies for combating authoritarianism at home and abroad, and new international organizations are popping up to coordinate the battle. Seen in real time, these efforts look scattershot. Step back from the day-to-day commotion, however, and a fuller picture emerges: for better or worse, competition with China is forging a new international order. ORDERS OF EXCLUSION The modern liberal mind associates international order with peace and harmony. Historically, however, international orders have been more about keeping rivals down than bringing everyone together. As the international relations theorist Kyle Lascurettes has argued, the major orders of the past four centuries were “orders of exclusion,” designed by dominant powers to ostracize and outcompete rivals. Order building wasn’t a restraint on geopolitical conflict; it was power politics by other means, a cost-effective way to contain adversaries short of war. Fear of an enemy, not faith in friends, formed the bedrock of each era’s order, and members developed a common set of norms by defining themselves in opposition to that enemy. In doing so, they tapped into humanity’s most primordial driver of collective action. Sociologists call it “the in-group/out-group dynamic.” Philosophers call it “Sallust’s theorem,” after the ancient historian who argued that fear of Carthage held the Roman Republic together. In political science, the analogous concept is negative partisanship, the tendency for voters to become intensely loyal to one political party mainly because they despise its rival. For the first time since the Cold War, a critical mass of countries face serious threats to their security, welfare, and ways of life. This negative dynamic pervades the history of order building. In 1648, the kingdoms that won the Thirty Years’ War enshrined rules of sovereign statehood in the Peace of Westphalia to undermine the authority of the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire. Great Britain and its allies designed the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht to contain France by delegitimizing territorial expansion through royal marriages and the assertion of dynastic ties, Louis XIV’s preferred method of amassing power. The Concert of Europe, the post-Napoleonic peace established in Vienna in 1815, was used by conservative monarchies to forestall the rise of liberal revolutionary regimes. The victors of World War I built the interwar order to hold Germany and Bolshevik Russia in check. After World War II, the Allies initially designed a global order, centered on the United Nations, to prevent a return of Nazi-style fascism and mercantilism. When the onset of the Cold War quickly hamstrung that global order, however, the West created a separate order to exclude and outcompete Soviet communism. For the duration of the Cold War, the world was divided into two orders: the dominant one led by Washington, and a poorer one centered on Moscow. The main features of today’s liberal order are direct descendants of the United States’ Cold War alliance. After the Soviets decided not to join the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (gatt), these institutions were repurposed as agents of capitalist expansion—first, to rebuild capitalist economies and, later, to promote globalization. The Marshall Plan laid the foundation for the European Community by lavishing U.S. aid on governments that agreed to expel communists from their ranks and work toward an economic federation. NATO created a united front against the Red Army. The chain of U.S. alliances ringing East Asia was constructed to contain communist expansion there, especially from China and North Korea. U.S. engagement with China, which lasted from the 1970s to the 2010s, was a gambit to exploit the Sino-Soviet split. Each of these initiatives was an element of an order designed first and foremost to defeat the Soviet Union. In the absence of the Cold War threat, Japan and West Germany would not have tolerated prolonged U.S. military occupations on their soil. The British, the French, and the Germans would not have pooled their industrial resources. The United States—which had spent the previous two centuries ducking international commitments and shielding its economy with tariffs—would not have thrown its weight behind international institutions. Nor would it have provided security guarantees, massive aid, and easy market access to dozens of countries, including the former Axis powers. Only the threat of a nuclear-armed, communist superpower could compel so many countries to set aside their conflicting interests and long-standing rivalries and build the strongest security community and free-trade regime in history. BUCKLING UNDER THE PRESSURE For decades, the United States and its allies knew what they stood for and who the enemy was. But then the Soviet Union collapsed, and a single overarching threat gave way to a kaleidoscope of minor ones. In the new and uncertain post–Cold War environment, the Western allies sought refuge in past sources of success. Instead of building a new order, they doubled down on the existing one. Their enemy may have disintegrated, but their mission, they believed, remained the same: to enlarge the community of free-market democracies. For the next three decades, they worked to expand the Western liberal order into a global one. NATO membership nearly doubled. The European Community morphed into the EU, a full-blown economic union with more than twice as many member countries. The Gatt was transformed into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and welcomed dozens of new members, unleashing an unprecedented period of hyperglobalization. But it couldn’t last. The liberal order, like all international orders, is a form of organized hypocrisy that contains the seeds of its own demise. To forge a cohesive community, order builders have to exclude hostile nations, outlaw uncooperative behaviors, and squelch domestic opposition to international rule-making. These inherently repressive acts eventually trigger a backlash. In the mid-nineteenth century, it came in the form of a wave of liberal revolutions, which eroded the unity and ideological coherence of the monarchical Concert of Europe. During the 1930s, aggrieved fascist powers demolished the liberal interwar order that stood in the way of their imperial ambitions. By the late 1940s, the Soviet Union had spurned the global order it had helped negotiate just a few years prior, having gobbled up territory in Eastern Europe in contravention of the UN Charter. The Soviet representative at the UN derided the Bretton Woods institutions as “branches of Wall Street.” Exclusionary by nature, international orders inevitably incite opposition.

Many in the West had long assumed that the liberal order would be an exception to the historical pattern. The system’s commitment to openness and nondiscrimination supposedly made it “hard to overturn and easy to join,” as the political scientist G. John Ikenberry argued in these pages in 2008. Any country, large or small, could plug and play in the globalized economy. Liberal institutions could accommodate all manner of members—even illiberal ones, which would gradually be reformed by the system into responsible stakeholders. As more countries joined, a virtuous cycle would play out: free trade would generate prosperity, which would spread democracy, which would enhance international cooperation, which would lead to more trade. Most important, the order faced no major opposition, because it had already defeated its main enemy. The demise of Soviet communism had sent a clear message to all that there was no viable alternative to democratic capitalism. Through a surge of repression and aggression, China has frightened countries near and far. These assumptions turned out to be wrong. The liberal order is, in fact, deeply exclusionary. By promoting free markets, open borders, democracy, supranational institutions, and the use of reason to solve problems, the order challenges traditional beliefs and institutions that have united communities for centuries: state sovereignty, nationalism, religion, race, tribe, family. These enduring ties to blood and soil were bottled up during the Cold War, when the United States and its allies had to maintain a united front to contain the Soviet Union. But they have reemerged over the course of the post–Cold War era. “We are going to do a terrible thing to you,” the Soviet official Georgi Arbatov told a U.S. audience in 1988. “We are going to deprive you of an enemy.” The warning proved prescient. By slaying its main adversary, the liberal order unleashed all sorts of nationalist, populist, religious, and authoritarian opposition. Many of the order’s pillars are buckling under the pressure. NATO is riven by disputes over burden sharing. The EU nearly broke apart during the eurozone crisis, and in the years since, it has lost the United Kingdom and has been threatened by the rise of xenophobic right-wing parties across the continent. The WTO’s latest round of multilateral trade talks has dragged on for 20 years without an agreement, and the United States is crippling the institution’s core feature—the Appellate Court, where countries adjudicate their disputes—for failing to regulate Chinese nontariff barriers. On the whole, the liberal order looks ill equipped to handle pressing global problems such as climate change, financial crises, pandemics, digital disinformation, refugee influxes, and political extremism, many of which are arguably a direct consequence of an open system that promotes the unfettered flow of money, goods, information, and people across borders. Policymakers have long recognized these problems. Yet none of their ideas for revamping the system has gained traction because order building is costly. It requires leaders to divert time and political capital away from advancing their agendas to hash out international rules and sell them to skeptical publics, and it requires countries to subordinate their national interests to collective objectives and trust that other countries will do likewise. These actions do not come naturally, which is why order building usually needs a common enemy. For 30 years, that unifying force has been absent, and the liberal order has unraveled as a result. ENTER THE DRAGON There has never been any doubt about what China wants, because Chinese leaders have declared the same objectives for decades: to keep the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in power, reabsorb Taiwan, control the East China and South China Seas, and return China to its rightful place as the dominant power in Asia and the most powerful country in the world. For most of the past four decades, the country took a relatively patient and peaceful approach to achieving these aims. Focused on economic growth and fearful of being shunned by the international community, China adopted a “peaceful rise” strategy, relying primarily on economic clout to advance its interests and generally following a maxim of the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping: “Hide your strength, bide your time.” In recent years, however, China has expanded aggressively on multiple fronts. “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy has replaced friendship diplomacy. Perceived slights from foreigners, no matter how small, are met with North Korean–style condemnation. A combative attitude has seeped into every part of China’s foreign policy, and it is confronting many countries with their gravest threat in generations. This threat is most apparent in maritime East Asia, where China is moving aggressively to cement its vast territorial claims. Beijing is churning out warships faster than any country has since World War II, and it has flooded Asian sea-lanes with Chinese coast guard and fishing vessels. It has strung military outposts across the South China Sea and dramatically increased its use of ship ramming and aerial interceptions to shove neighbors out of disputed areas. In the Taiwan Strait, Chinese military patrols, some involving a dozen warships and more than 50 combat aircraft, prowl the sea almost daily and simulate attacks on Taiwanese and U.S. targets. Chinese officials have told Western analysts that calls for an invasion of Taiwan are proliferating within the CCP. Pentagon officials worry that such an assault could be imminent. China has gone on the economic offensive, too. Its latest five-year plan calls for dominating what Chinese officials call “chokepoints”—goods and services that other countries can’t live without—and then using that dominance, plus the lure of China’s domestic market, to browbeat countries into concessions. Toward that end, China has become the dominant dispenser of overseas loans, loading up more than 150 countries with over $1 trillion of debt. It has massively subsidized strategic industries to gain a monopoly on hundreds of vital products, and it has installed the hardware for digital networks in dozens of countries. Armed with economic leverage, it has used coercion against more than a dozen countries over the last few years. In many cases, the punishment has been disproportionate to the supposed crime—for example, slapping tariffs on many of Australia’s exports after that country requested an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19. China has also become a potent antidemocratic force, selling advanced tools of tyranny around the world. By combining surveillance cameras with social media monitoring, artificial intelligence, biometrics, and speech and facial recognition technologies, the Chinese government has pioneered a system that allows dictators to watch citizens constantly and punish them instantly by blocking their access to finance, education, employment, telecommunications, or travel. The apparatus is a despot’s dream, and Chinese companies are already selling and operating aspects of it in more than 80 countries.

North Korea threats increasing

Scott Berrier, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army. Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, March 15, 2022, https://armedservices.house.gov/_cache/files/5/f/5fa65e01-08c0-4b83-9713-7516a0bc4d62/481DE0F0E64E412E4B1EA9EC9984A1B8.20220317-iso-witnessstatement-berrier.pdf, WORLDWIDE THREAT ASSESSMENT ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE INTELLIGENCE AND SPECIAL OPERATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

North Korea’s military force has long been plagued by resource constraints and aging equipment and probably reduced training during the past year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite these limitations, North Korea maintains a capable military of ground, air, navy, special operations, and missile forces. These forces are almost certainly postured to maintain a credible defense of its territory and execute lethal, limited objective attacks, but they are not able to support a sustained conflict or reunify the Korean Peninsula. The Korean People’s Army (KPA) Ground Forces remain the core of North Korea’s military power and the primary means by which Pyongyang threatens Seoul. The KPA ground units comprise approximately 1,000,000 active-duty personnel and have thousands of long-range artillery and rocket systems arrayed along the demilitarized zone to be able to strike South Korea without warning. It is also developing more accurate multiple rocket launchers with ranges extending to South Korean and U.S. bases farther south on the peninsula. North Korea’s Air and Air Defense Forces consist of more than 900 combat aircraft and can fly strike missions against targets in South Korea with fighters, bombers, and possibly UAVs. It is developing or procuring a variety of UAVs, some of which have been used for reconnaissance missions over South Korea and could be equipped with rudimentary armaments. Its air defense forces maintain a dense network of integrated systems, providing overlapping, redundant territorial coverage. The North Korean Navy is primarily a coastal defense force and is capable of conducting limited shortterm offensive and defensive operations. It maintains one of the world’s largest submarine forces. While most of its submarines are of older design, it launched a new ballistic missile submarine with a single 30 launch tube in 2015, and tested a new SLBM in 2016 and another model in 2021, in an effort to build its naval deterrent. North Korea’s Strategic Force controls a wide selection of SRBMs, MRBMs, IRBMS, and ICBMs and has stated each represents a nuclear-capable class. North Korea’s Strategic Force is one of the most rapidly modernizing elements of its national military, and if training and development are sustained and pursued consistently forcewide, it could become one of North Korea’s most capable military arms. North Korea maintains robust chemical warfare (CW) and biological warfare (BW) capabilities. North Korea, which is not a member of the CWC, probably has a CW program with up to several thousand metric tons of CW agents and the capability to produce nerve, blister, blood, and choking agents. North Korea probably could employ CW agents by modifying a variety of conventional munitions, including artillery, rockets, and ballistic missiles as well as unconventional, targeted methods such as the use of a chemical agent in the 2017 assassination of Kim’s half-brother Kim Jong Nam. North Korea has a dedicated, national-level effort to develop BW capabilities and has developed, produced, and possibly weaponized BW agents. North Korea probably has the capability to produce sufficient quantities of biological agents for military purposes upon leadership demand. Though a signatory to the BWC, North Korea has failed to provide a BWC confidence building measure report since 1990. North Korea’s economy and logistics infrastructure support national defense considerations, but the systems are poorly constructed and deteriorating., While it has made recent progress on hydroelectric power and improving power generation, North Korea continues to experience chronic electricity shortages. As a country, it possesses extensive indigenous capability for defense industrial output but uses illicit foreign procurement for some components and technology. North Korea also continues to expand the world’s largest and most fortified underground facility (UGF) program, estimated to consist of thousands of UGFs and bunkers that are designed to conceal and protect leadership, C2 assets, WMDs, ballistic missiles, military forces and assets, and defense industries. 31 North Korea continues to violate international sanctions by procuring dual-use goods for its WMD and missile programs, illicitly importing refined petroleum and exporting proscribed commodities—such as coal and military equipment—despite its extreme border restrictions. Since 2018, North Korea has acquired refined petroleum in excess of the amount allowed under United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions through vessels using illicit ship-to-ship transfers and direct deliveries of petroleum using third-country tankers. Prior to the pandemic, evasion of sanctions stabilized North Korea’s fuel supplies and prices; however, widespread shortages caused by the pandemic-driven border closures continue to affect price volatility and depletion of its stockpiles. Evading sanctions has also allowed a continued revenue flow that has historically funded its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pyongyang remains a willing supplier of conventional arms, military equipment, and almost certainly missile technology, flouting UNSC sanctions to generate revenue from arms exports. North Korea uses intermediaries and front companies to mask exports to the few arms buyers undeterred by international interdiction efforts, including Iran, Syria, and Uganda. North Korea may also resume arms sales to Burma, considering North Korea’s need for cash and Burma’s limited arms trade options after the February coup.